Cubans React to Castro Stepping Down
This is the day exiles from cuba have been awaiting for 50 years... the end of the reign of Fidel Castro... but this isn't the day they will be able to go home.
"He's worse than Castro personally."
Cuban exiles like 65 year-old Mamerto Luzarraga say the younger Castro will run the country further into the ground.
He knows what it was like under Fidel Castro, having lived in cuba for the first 18 years of his life.
While there he was imprisoned for participating in the bay of pigs invasion of 1961. he knew it was possible that he might lose his life... but the reality of living under a dictatorship just was not an option.
"My mother was very outspoken and we will not tolerate any kind of dictatorship."
He believed joining the rebels at the bay of pigs was the only real option for social change... during that time.
"We had to join the Bay of Pigs in order for us to be able to overthrow Castro."
The invasion was directed by the united states CIA. cuban military bases were bombed... two days later a force of about 1,500 men landed at several sites along the coast, including the bay of pigs. the rebellion never materialized... the invasion force was quickly defeated...and more than 1,000 men were imprisoned....including luzarraga who was convicted and given 30 years for his part...he served 22 months of that sentence.
"Thanks to the Americans who paid 100,000 dollars to Castro to let me go."
Luzarraga says Cuba's future looks bleak. he doesn't know if the change in leadership will bring anything new to the economy or to the people that still live there.
"As long as the communists are in power nothing will come out of it."
Numerous prominent floridians including governor charlie crist and senator bill nelson have made statements recognizing castro's resignation and asking the country to hold free and democratic elections.
SHANI MUHAMMAD...WCJB TV 20 NEWS.
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