Monday, December 5, 2016

More on the Death of Fidel

When Cuban dictator Fidel Castro died last week I did a post (11/28/16) titled A Tyrant Has Passed in which was mentioned some of the many crimes this man committed against the Cuban people. In reply, a student whose great-grandfather was one of those who suffered and was lucky enough to escape wrote to relate his fascinating story:
Castro’s death is great news for everyone around the world, especially my family. My great grandfather on my father’s side of the family is actually 100% Cuban, and so is my grandfather. When Castro was first gaining power, my great grandfather Juan Silva realized that Fidel was a vile man. Juan, a prestigious lawyer, began using whatever money he had to help people leave Cuba and escape the coming storm. Fidel discovered Juan’s actions and torched my great grandfather’s library. This was a heavy blow to Juan because from a lawyer’s standpoint, his library was paramount to his career.

Around the same time, Fidel vowed that he would execute the entirety of the Silva family. This was more than enough for Juan, so he gathered his family and his remaining finances and left Cuba for America. My grandfather, Alfredo Silva, was born in Cuba, but has lived in the United States for most of his life. He vowed never to return to Cuba unless Fidel Castro was deceased.

My grandfather grew up in a house in Punta Gorda, Cuba that Castro used as a summer home after Juan and his family fled the country. My grandfather’s health has been diminishing severely over the years, resulting in dementia. He’s now in his 80s and remembers more about his short time in Cuba than his whole life in America.

For old time’s sake, my father, two of my uncles, and my cousin have accompanied my grandfather back to his home in Punta Gorda. They had scheduled the trip months in advance, regardless of Fidel’s well-being. My father and grandfather left for Cuba on Wednesday, November 30th: only a few days after Castro’s death. I hope my grandfather can visit his old home in peace and that the members of my family who are in Cuba will have a wonderful and safe time.
There are perhaps millions of Cubans with stories like this about Castro which is why so many of them were celebrating in the streets of Miami and, more circumspectly, throughout Cuba, when news of Castro's death was announced.