Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro is dead and brother Raúl is no longer president of Cuba. But communism can still move the needle in Miami campaigns.

Decades after the Cuban revolution spawned an exodus that reshaped South Florida culture and U.S. politics in the Caribbean, political exiles are declining in number in Miami and leftist angst is fading. But it's far from gone. And under the right conditions and in the right neighborhoods, evoking the tyranny of dictators can still be an effective tactic in manipulating votes and undercutting opponents.

Alfredo Zuniga / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

While a growing global chorus calls for Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega to step down, I’m thinking back to one of my favorite editorial cartoons.

It appeared 28 years ago, at the curtain call of Ortega’s first presidency – right after Nicaraguan voters tossed out him and his Marxist Sandinista party, ending their decade of authoritarian rule.

The cartoon shows Ortega rafting across the Caribbean to Cuba. Iconic communist dictator Fidel Castro stands onshore angrily shouting, “You lost a WHAT?!”

AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Covering Cuba, I’ve long followed this maxim: If both the communist leadership in Havana and the exile leadership in Miami are angry at you, you’ve probably done your job right.

I felt that way 10 years ago this very week, when I wrote that Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl disagreed on economic policy.

Franklin Reyes / AP

The oldest son of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro killed himself on Thursday after months of treatment for depression, state media reported. He was 68.

Sebastian Ballestas / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

President Trump's speech in Little Havana last Friday wasn’t about remaking America’s Cuba policy. It was about reliving the Cuban-American past.

It was an exile Woodstock reunion, a nostalgic return to a time when Miami Cubans (and their impressive voter turnout) convinced Washington to isolate communist Cuba. Back to the years when they tightened the economic and diplomatic screws until the head slots stripped – certain it would drive the Castro dictatorship from their mother island.

JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES

This week on The Florida Roundup...

2016 was a big year. It played host to a long contentious and historic election with Donald Trump winning the presidency--with a big hand from Florida. 

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA – In a eulogy last week in Havana for his brother Fidel Castro, Cuban President Raúl Castro often saluted los jóvenes – young people. But it couldn’t hide the fact that communist Cuba is still run by much older people. Like Raúl, who’s 85.

The ashes of Fidel Castro, the iconic revolutionary leader who died late last month, were interred in a private ceremony Sunday bringing an end to nine days of mourning in Cuba for a man who was the political face of the island nation for nearly half a century.

The ceremony took place at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, located in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, known as the site that launched the Cuban Revolution. Castro's remains join those of other prominent Cuban figures.

Will Grant of the BBC tells NPR's Newscast:

Katie Lepri / WLRN

This week on The Florida Roundup...

News of the death of Fidel Castro set in motion celebrations in the streets on Miami, but it also gave rise to complex emotions across generations for Cuban-Americans and others in South Florida. We look at the reactions, as well as how South Florida media prepared for years to cover this story. 

As his ashes make his way from Havana to Santiago, we speak with WLRN's Americas correspondent Tim Padgett about reactions to Fidel's death in the island. 

Associated Press

MATANZAS – A caravan carrying Fidel Castro’s ashes is moving across Cuba from Havana to Santiago on the island’s eastern tip – marking a funereal return to where the Cuban Revolution was born.

Katie Lepri / WLRN

The crowd filled two city blocks near a memorial dedicated to soldiers who died in the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961.

They danced to a Celia Cruz cover of “I will survive” and chanted "libertad, libertad, libertad." 

For many in Miami's Cuban-American exile community, the pain of Fidel Castro's rule, and the joy of his death, are deeply personal. Less than a week after the reviled and revered Cuban revolutionary passed, Little Havana continued to celebrate life after Fidel with a rally on Calle Ocho. 

At the Give Good Works Thrift Store in Wynwood, a wall facing North Miami Avenue turned for two days into a canvas for people to write or paint their thoughts about Fidel Castro.

Large black letters read, “Fidel, may you rot in hell.”

In a sign posted outside, the store encouraged passers-by to stop and write on the wall. "Ask for a marker inside," it said. 

Someone wrote, "Viva Cuba Libre," and another "Praying for a free Cuba."

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA - Hundreds of thousands of Cubans filled Havana’s Revolution Square Tuesday night to bid farewell to Fidel Castro, who died Friday. We can’t know how many of them will actually miss the communist leader. But some of the mourners are not who you’d expect.

You can count on Cuban artist Tania Bruguera to stir things up when she heads back to Cuba in the coming weeks. 

Bruguera is imagining a new future, even as her homeland officially mourns the death of revolutionary icon Fidel Castro.

"We need somebody in power that is able to create an image of the country that attracts the people who've thought (Cuba) was a failed project," she says. "Right now, though, I think the most important thing is that everybody has the right to feel what they feel, and the lesson is to know how to accept everybody's feelings without judging."

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA - When the first commercial flight between the U.S. and Cuba in more than half a century touched down in Santa Clara in August, the JetBlue plane from Fort Lauderdale was met with cheers and water-cannon salutes.

When the first commercial flight between Miami and Havana in more than half a century landed at José Martí International Airport Monday morning, the American Airlines 737 taxied quietly to the terminal and unloaded 125 passengers wearing complimentary straw fedoras.

No confetti. No music. And it felt remarkably fitting.

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