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Cuban-American Celebrities React to Fidel Castro’s Death

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Cuban-American celebrities reacted to the death of former longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who passed away Friday at the age of 90.

Gloria Estefan, one of Cuba’s most famous singers, released a lengthy statement on her Instagram, saying the death of what Castro symbolized was renewing the Cuban exile community with hope.

“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 long been in coming,” she wrote.

Though the Castro regime’s grip “will not loosen overnight,” Estefan wrote that the end to his policies “can only lead to positive change for the Cuban people and our world.”

A representative for Estefan said the singer is not doing interviews on the subject.

The actor Andy Garcia said he felt “deep sorry” for all Cuban people.

“It is necessary for me to express the deep sorrow that I feel for all the Cuban people both inside and outside of Cuba that have suffered the atrocities and repression caused by Fidel Castro and his totalitarian regime,” he said in a statement. “The promise of his so-called revolution of pluralism, democracy, were and continue to be a false promise and a betrayal of all basic human rights.”

Garcia said he stands with Cuban people and prayed for the country’s freedom following Castro’s death. Castro, he said, will be remembered for his persecution of political dissidents and the LGBT community and the denial of free press, elections and religious freedoms.

“He claimed history would absolve him, but it can also condemn him,” he said.

Cuban-American baseball player Jose Canseco took his thoughts on Castro’s death to Twitter with a personal touch.

“I was born in Cuba and Fidel Castro was our leader. Came to the USA because of him,” he wrote. “Can’t say I feel anything for his death. There is a reason many defected to the USA.”

The actor Laz Alonso posted a video of people celebrating Castro’s death in Miami.

“There is a reason they celebrate,” he wrote in the caption. “Unless u lived it, are related to those that did or lost relatives that did, u do not know.”


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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com