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:
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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. Aunque la muerte de un ser humano es raramente causa para celebrar, es la muerte simbólica de las ideologías destructivas que el patrocinó que, en mi opinión, están llenando al exilio Cubano de esperanza renovada y un alivio que ha tardado mucho en llegar. Y aunque el agarre del régimen Castrista no se aflojara de un día para otro, el deceso de un líder que supervisó el aniquilamiento de aquellos con puntos de vistas opuestos al suyo, el encarcelamiento de inocentes, la separación de familias, la censura de la libertad de expresión, el esparcimiento de terrorismo sancionado por su gobierno y la destrucción económica de un país exitoso que prosperaba, solo puede llevar a cambios positivos para el pueblo Cubano y el mundo. Que la libertad siga viva en los Estados Unidos, mi bello país adoptivo, y que la esperanza para la libertad crezca y se renueve en los corazones de cada Cubano en mi tierra natal y a través del mundo.