Cuban leader Fidel Castro died Friday, Nov. 25 after a long battle with illness. He was 90 years old. The former Cuban president rose to power as an anti-imperialist revolutionary only to impose severe restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, imprisoning and executing dissenting citizens over the course of his rule. For many Cuban-Americans who fled Cuba to escape Castro's regime, news of his passing was a cause for celebration of a free Cuba.
Many Cuban-American celebrities took to social media on Saturday to voice their feelings about Castro's death. The most striking message came from singer Gloria Estefan, who was born in Havana in 1957 and escaped to America with her family during the Cuban Revolution. Estefan posted a photo of a raft carrying Cuban citizens with the following caption:
Although the death of a human being is rarely cause for celebration, it is the symbolic death of the destructive ideologies that he espoused that, I believe, is filling the Cuban exile community with renewed hope and a relief that has been long in coming. And although the grip of Castro's regime will not loosen overnight, the demise of a leader that oversaw the annihilation of those with an opposing view, the indiscriminate jailing of innocents, the separation of families, the censure of his people's freedom to speak, state sanctioned terrorism and the economic destruction of a once thriving & successful country, can only lead to positive change for the Cuban people and our world. May freedom continue to ring in the United States, my beautiful adopted country, and may the hope for freedom be inspired and renewed in the heart of every Cuban in my homeland and throughout the world.
Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello, who is also Cuban-American, tweeted on Saturday that she hopes Castro's death will unite families who have been separated over the last six decades.
TV personality Daisy Fuentes, who was born in Havana in 1960 and fled the island during the early years of Castro's regime, posted a shady quote on her Twitter count Saturday with the caption, "Fidel Castro dead at 90."
Journalist Soledad O'Brien, whose mother is Afro-Cuban, took some time to engage in Castro's complicated legacy and influence among Cubans.
Former baseball player Jose Canseco, who was born in Havana in 1964 and came to America as an infant, tweeted bittersweet remarks about how Castro was the reason he and his family fled their homeland.