Amidst Cries of Sadness and Elation, Fidel Castro is Gone

By Mitzi Hernandez Cruz, HIPGive contributor

Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro

I couldn’t let the death of one of the most renowned leaders of the 20th century pass without writing something for HIPGive.

Fidel Castro’s last breath has provoked many international reactions. In Latin America, it’s without a doubt an issue that concerns all us Latinos, even with disparate reactions.

It’s the end of an era, whether you had a positive or negative view of Castro. What’s more, we’re living through radical changes in the relationship between Cuba and the U.S.—as demonstrated by the first commercial flight in 50 years between Miami and Havana.

To say nothing of the triumph of President Elect Donald Trump, who has made statements that he will reverse the thawing of relations spearheaded by President Barack Obama.

Trump’s proposed policies represent security to some but a threat to others. He calls for justice for Cubans living in exile, but his policies may threaten those who remain on the island.

The island’s future is still uncertain, but in these moments there’s more reason than ever to come together as Latinos.

We need to present a united front to make sure his policies, spoken lightly, don’t provoke racist reactions. Recent news, videos that have circulated online, and the experiences of some of my friends who live in the U.S. affirm that there has been an upsurge in attacks directed to Latinos in the U.S.

The pro-Trump votes of Cubans living in Miami provided a preamble to the celebrations that took place when the leader of the Cuban revolution left this world. These celebrators did not want to have a relationship with the island under the Communist regime.

I respect the decisions of the Cuban diaspora community living in Florida, but I also call on them and other Latinos who voted for the new American president to speak out against any attacks against people of Latino origin.

This is an invitation—let’s use the energy from recent events to stay united and respect that, though we may have different political outlooks, we are all cut from the same cloth. We should respect those with different views.

I know some people will disagree with my neutral view, but I can’t help think that we need understanding, acceptance, and solidarity as Latinos.

In reality, Castro’s death unites us, because it’s true for us all that this is a significant moment in history.

I send my condolences to those who cry and my congratulations to those who celebrate. Please don’t forget that what we need most now is love.