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Esteban Pina

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Fidel Castro steps down
by Esteban Pina   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2008

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Reactions to Fidel Castro's decision

At three-thirty a.m. Eastern Standard Time the media in south Florida began spreading the news of Fidel Castroís decision to step aside and permit his brother Raul to continue his policies. Since eight this morning Iíve been bombarded with speculations, predictions, arguments and whatever else the media considers interesting to the public. To put things in perspective a large area of Miami-Dade County is of Cuban heritage, persistent sentinels of everything that takes place in Cuba. Iím not Cuban but lived among them for twenty-eight years before moving to Broward County. I have close friends from Cuba and heard all the tales of misery and oppression. In Miami the news created round the clock coverage by some Latin TV stations and periodic program interruptions by others. In the streets, especially in the little Havana area of Miami, demonstrators hugged sidewalks with banners, Cuban flags and placards aimed at vehicles passing by with honking horns. Florida Cubans desperate for anything positive took the news as a sign of hope. Unfortunately experts interviewed are saying the opposite. What occurred is described as nothing more than a transfer of power with no change in policy. After today itíll be business as usual in Cuba. It doesnít make any difference if the U.S. screwed up fifty years ago, whatís done is done. Forget politics and think about the human factor. We must not forget the thousands that risk their lives coming here and why theyíre fleeing. If life is as good as some writers portray, why are they here? After reading some of the Helium articles it saddens me to see Fidel Castro portrayed as a benevolent leader freeing his people from Fulgencio Batista, a ruthless dictator. I admit Fidel was one hell of a guy to do what he did. I was one of the many who cheered on that fateful day. But what occurred after Batista is where this long running novella took an unexpected turn. Are all the stories told over the years by those that managed to survive the crossing, lies? Why do I sense Holocaust style innuendoes taking place? After years of blood and suffering wouldnít it be fair to say if they were indeed lies the media would have a field day with it. A man interviewed on the street today reminded us of the unarmed plane shot down over international waters by Cuban fighters. The incident was deliberate murder in the skies. Itís presently historical fact and those that paint Fidel Castro with a halo should take time to reflect on this. Iíve also heard stories of fear to complain, of families separated or held hostage until a member returns from some government sponsored event. Speaking of events, how about the musicians, ballplayers and celebrities that have defected? Fidelís decision unearthed hopes and dreams of freedom but regrettably the power structure of Cuba is such that it may be a long time coming. Fidelís brother Raul is considered a tough leader and not a pushover as some will have you think. One thing in Raulís favor is his importing of goods from China to ease supply and demand. Heís also a stern disciplinarian and frowns on corruption, a major problem throughout the island. The shift in power will make him stronger in the eyes of subordinates and the people. While waiting for Fidelís return he was looked at as just a temporary leader. Only time will tell if Raul is a true leader and not just another demagogue.    

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