California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

Has Fidel Castro’s death changed anything in the country?

Graphic by Tam Duong Jr./The Pioneer

Daisy Ortiz,
Spanish Editor

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On Nov. 25, 2016, Cubans celebrated with pots and pans in the streets of Miami, joyful of what they thought would be a turning point for their homeland, Cuba.

In the United States, we received the news right away and stopped transmitting other programs to talk about the death of Fidel Castro.

The atmosphere in the capital La Havana though was a bit different. People weren’t cheering, but they also were not sad.

People did gather at the Revolution Plaza. Ray Sr., a Cuban who is 66 years old and was around eight years old at the time of the revolution says that after the revolution, he was finally able to access an education that provided not only good teachers but also books, notebooks, usable desks, and other basic needs for a proper education.

Before they only had access to good teachers but no supplies, only half of an education.

Raul gave the announcement of his infamous brother’s death; however, it was only transmitted for a couple of minutes before regular programming returned.

Even the news outlets didn’t give it much attention and the news of Castro’s death came towards the end.

I remember watching a ‘novela’ when my programming in California was interrupted and I heard the Univision correspondent announce Fidel’s death.

I was shocked and the next footage shown was that of Cubans throughout Miami cheering and exclaiming their hope for Cuba.

Both Ray and his son, Ray Jr., agree that Cubans who live in Miami have a completely different life than those on the island.

Many Cubans spoke hopefully saying “when Fidel dies, when Fidel dies,” says Ray Jr., but “Fidel is dead and nothing has changed.”

Ray Sr., however, says that “for poor people, the revolution was the best thing to happen.” He does see change, even if it’s minimal.

The government does currently provide free education, health care, and rations, and it also allows people to have their own small businesses.

If you are not working or have an extremely low income you can apply for the rations program which means the state provides you with a certain amount of eggs, bread, milk, and other basics paid through the taxes taken from the people.

“The problem is in order to keep these things it takes a lot” says Ray Jr.

“The revolution’s biggest mistake was to get more than it could afford,” Ray Sr. says. “First they had to have built an economy that could afford it.”

Ray Jr. kept speaking about hope but when asked what were his hopes for Cuba he stayed silent, thought about it and responded, “I actually do not know.”

Raul Castro is now 86 years old and has announced he will be allowing others to run for president in 2018.

This could result in a change for Cuban politics after over 60 years of Castro men.

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California State University East Bay
Has Fidel Castro’s death changed anything in the country?