As news of Fidel Castro’s death broke on early Saturday morning, Cubans in Miami headed to the streets to celebrate. Banging pots and pans, the scene more closely looked like people taking a victory lap around Miami after seeing one of their favorite sports teams win. Instead, they headed to places like Versailles, the iconic Cuban restaurant that has served as a photo op for politicians for 40+ years, and they waved their Cuban flags. Some even popped bottles of Champagne.
Perhaps nowhere in the world is Fidel more despised than in Miami. The Cuban leader – who rose to power in the 1950s – wasn’t always a hated figure among his people. “Millions cheered Fidel Castro on the day he entered Havana,” the Miami Herald notes. “Millions more fled the communist dictator’s repressive police state, leaving behind their possessions, their families, the island they loved and often their very lives. It’s part of the paradox of Castro that many people belonged to both groups.”
Despite some initial disbelief – rumors of his death have persisted for years – Fidel’s brother and current Cuban President Raul Castro confirmed it was true. “The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening (03:29 GMT Saturday),” Raul said.
But not long after trusted sources like the Associated Press and the New York Times confirmed that Castro had died at age 90, Cubans in Miami gathered at a place that has for so long served as an important space for their community. As Cuban Americans hope this signals change back on the island, here’s what Miami looked like the day it learned Fidel died:
Read the Miami Herald‘s obituary here.