Gloria Estefan’s family fled Cuba after Fidel Castro rose to power over 50 years ago. The singer, who was a toddler when she arrived in the U.S., has frequently spoken out against the Castro regime’s human rights abuses and policies.
When news of the death of Cuba’s former leader broke late Friday, hundreds of Miami residents flooded the streets of Little Havana yelling “freedom!” and “the tyrant has died!” Estefan, who lives in South Florida, joined fellow Cuban-Americans in commemorating the end of an era via Instagram.
The “Conga” singer wrote a lengthy message in English and Spanish below a photo of what appears to be unidentified Cuban exiles in a makeshift raft. Read her powerful post below:
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.
Estefan spoke frankly to HuffPost Live in September concerning the recent thaw in diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. The star said that while there had been political changes, most of them have occurred in the U.S. and not on the Caribbean island.
“They continue to abuse human rights,” she said. “I’m still looking forward to the day where there’s actual political change in Cuba. I think after 57 years, it has to be incremental. They can’t handle a sudden onslaught of democracy. That may not be what is the best for them, because they’ve lived in like a time warp for so long.”