I was in Miami when Fidel Castro died. More specifically, when the news broke I was asleep on a pull-out couch in Hialeah exactly one block from la 49 del west. I honked my horn, drank entire coladas and serendipitously ran into Marisela Verena en una esquina de Mary Brickell Village. Since then many have written, much more eloquently than I ever could, about what his death meant to their family. So I won’t. I won’t tell you how as a kid I secretly kept a newspaper clipping with Fidel’s photo (that I had defaced with a red pen) that I would often hold in my hands to wish his death, like some New Age version of brujeria. And I won’t tell you that at the same time I secretly was grateful for Fidel because he set off a series of events that led me to be born in the United States. I know. It’s confusing. That’s exactly what being Cuban is, a series of contradictions.
Now that the party has ended and Fidel’s ridiculous tour-de-urn finally made it to its final destination (appropriately under a rock), I wanted to bring up an observation that has been nagging me since I saw it happen live. A few days after this dick’s death, an NBC reporter was in Havana interviewing a Cuban millennial. I stopped what I was doing to turn up the television because this particular young person’s English was much better than mine. La cubanita showed the reporter her super nice house, explained that she worked from home, had internet and her own laptop – all of these red flags. Very red, communist-party flags.
And then she said the thing that left me disheartened.
The reporter asked her about her aspirations for her young son and if she wanted him to have a better life than she did. And her answer was basically no.
Scroll to 2:33 in the video below to see it for yourself.
In Cuba, to this day, to aspire to something greater and to dream of a better life for your children is to admit that Fidel and his regime were a failure. So to all of those other millennials that are not come candelas: continue to dream, continue to aspire and continue to fight.
In the meantime, I will do my part and visit Miami again soon. Apparently a Castro always dies when I do. Raul, I’m coming for you.