Gloria Estefan’s “Mi Tierra” was blasting in restaurants, homes and bars in the hours since news of Fidel Castro’s death broke on Friday night. The 1993 single, a tribute to Estefan’s native Cuba and to the pain felt by exiles torn from their homes and loved ones, was a huge hit, reaching the number-one spot on the Hot Latin Tracks chart. It made universal the longing for home you can never return to.
Gloria’s family was among the millions who fled Cuba after Fidel Castro took power nearly six decades ago. The singer, who was a two years old when she arrived in the US, later married another Cuban exile and, as they say, the rest is history. They went on to become one of the biggest power couples in the Latin music industry, and one of the first “crossover” success stories in an Anglo market. They also used their status as some of the world’s most famous Cuban musicians to shine a spotlight on the human rights violations of the Castro regime.
So when news Castro’s death spread around South Florida last night, Estefan was one of the many Cuban-Americans who weighed in on what this historic moment means. “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 lengthy Instagram post that she also translated to Spanish.
Read the full statement below: