Fidel Castro’s death at the age of 90 prompted mixed reactions throughout the world, and Cuba-born singer Gloria Estefan is taking a more hopeful tone.
“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,” she wrote in a statement posted to Instagram.
Estefan was born in Havana and later fled Cuba to the U.S. as a toddler with her family when Castro rose to power. Her father, José Manuel Fajardo, was recruited by the 2506 Brigade, a CIA-funded group of Cuban refugees who were part of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion that would have restored U.S. interest to the island if successful.
“Although the grip of Castro’s regime will not loosen overnight,” Estefan continued, “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.”
She added, “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.”
President Barack Obama extended “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” in a statement following Castro’s death on Friday, while President-elect Donald Trump had a brief declarative tweet before his lengthier response referred to Castro as “a brutal dictator.”