first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesCastro issued a statement Tuesday night saying his condition was “stable” and that he felt “perfectly fine.” The statement, read on Cuba’s state-run television, provided no details about his intestinal ailment. Cuban-Americans in Miami said the statement sounded like government propaganda. “They are just saying that. They are covering up the truth because they can’t take an uproar of people within the island,” said Cari Gonzalez, 26, whose parents came from Cuba in 1980. Reports that Castro had ceded power led a pot-banging, cigar-smoking, flag-waving crowd to take to the streets of Miami’s Little Havana on Monday night. The crowds were smaller Tuesday but no less fervent, with about 75 people gathered at midday outside the Versailles Cuban restaurant, waving Cuban flags and honking horns. Vendors sold small U.S. and Cuban flags to passing motorists for $7 each. “The long-awaited day of a Cuba without Castro may be approaching,” said U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., who was born in Cuba and came to the U.S. in 1962. “Our hope and purpose should now be for a true moment of change, not a transfer from one dictator to another.” Talk radio stations devoted nearly all their airtime to the Castro story, and government leaders set up a hotline to keep rumors in check. But in a city where Castro has loomed large for more than a generation, many of Miami’s 800,000 Cuban-Americans have long dreamed of the day his communist rule would come to an end. Most Cuban-Americans view Castro as a ruthless dictator who forced them, their parents or grandparents from their home after he seized power in a revolution in 1959. Cuban-Americans elsewhere also celebrated. In Tampa’s heavily Cuban-American Ybor City, Gladys Sequeira-Garcia said her family had been “in an uproar.” They fled Cuba in 1960. “I want my parents to see Cuba back to the way it was when they left – the beautiful beaches, the growing economy and the happy people,” she said. The festive atmosphere was tempered by the understanding among many Cuban-Americans that Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul, harbors the same views as his elder brother and has been in firm control of the island’s military. Jorge Alonso, 78, said he expected true change to take 20 years or more. “The change has to come from within Cuba. It’s not going to come from the United States,” Alonso said, playing dominos and drinking Cuban coffee at a Miami park. “There will be bloodshed in Cuba because there is a lot of hate there. It’s been 47 years of suffering.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MIAMI – Cuban exile Federico Falcon remembers well how the government of his native country kept a tight lid on information and intimidated anyone who espoused anti-communist views. So, he said, the uncertainty surrounding Fidel Castro’s illness came as no surprise. The Cuban government “is sneaky and manipulative,” said Falcon, 48, an engineer who fled the island nation on a raft in 1994. “Something surely happened, but they have a tendency to keep things quiet until things are under control.” On Tuesday, Falcon’s suspicions were shared by thousands of other Cuban-Americans in Miami who questioned whether the Cuban government was telling the full truth about the intestinal disorder that prompted Castro to cede power temporarily to his brother. “Basically, we are seeing what the Cuban government is saying, but we don’t know if that is true,” said Ninoska Perez of the Cuban Liberty Council, an anti-Castro exile group. “I think they are just gaining time. For all we know, Castro may already be dead or critically ill.” last_img read more

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