Who isn’t counting the days until Fidel Castro’s death?
So, it came with some surprise and disappointment when Fidel unleashed criticism Monday about President Barack Obama’s recent visit to the island nation in a bid to further normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
Not everybody is convinced Obama’s proposed normalization process will work. Even if it does, it may take a generation or two before the process actually delivers relief, freedom and a better way of life to Cubans living in Cuba.
Obama met with current Cuban leader Raul Castro, Fidel’s younger brother, but did not meet with Fidel. I know of many people who hoped Obama didn’t meet with Fidel because he is irrelevant to the future of Cuba, not to mention many prayed Fidel was too sick to take a meeting.
As it turns out, Fidel is well enough to pen a letter to blast Obama and America.
“We do not need the empire to give us anything,” Castro wrote.
Castro, is of course, wrong. Perhaps the best chance to undue the horror, pain and economic mess that is now the legacy of Fidel Castro, lies indeed with America. That is likely why Raul Castro hosted Obama, and by extension, America. That is why we see airlines and other American businesses race to line up to operate in Cuba.
Lasting and meaningful change may finally be on the way to Cuba, but they haven’t come fast enough for the hordes of Cubans forced to flee Cuba in recent decades due to Fidel’s tyranny, leaving behind family, belongings and everything else.
The oldest wave of immigrants remember being stripped of their homes, businesses and bank accounts by Fidel’s goons.
They remember the executions.
Most of all, they remember the way Cuba was before Fidel grabbed power, one of the most progressive and glorious nations in the world, and how it was all torn apart by Fidel’s wealth-hungry revolution.
Fidel Castro built his empire on the backs of his own people, many of whom he shot in the back along the way.
It must be hard for Cuban-Americans to hear about how Cuba is ripe for a new economic boon that may come from casinos, bars and restaurants that will seek to attract tourists from America and around the world, tourists who know little or care little about what happened to Cubans under Fidel.
Because anyone who buys a mojito or cigar in Havana right now should know that most likely those profits will continue to line the pockets of the Castro brothers and their sickly but still alive evil empire.
Count me among those who hope Cubans in Cuba will see a better day soon.
And among those counting the days until Fidel’s funeral.
Daniel Vasquez is a columnist for the Sun Sentinel. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.