Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

The late-break­ing news roused some out of bed to join the street party in pa­ja­mas. Some sang the Cuban na­tional an­them. Oth­ers shook up bot­tles of cham­pagne and sprayed fizz among the rev­el­ers. Peo­ple of all ages-mostly of Cuban de­scent, but also some Amer­i­cans-gath­ered. "It's a ma­jor mo­ment for the Cuban com­mu­nity and I'm with them," said a re­tired Florida na­tive named Debbie. "I live in Lit­tle Ha­vana and this is a big part of our lives. The com­mu­nity al­ways comes to­gether here."

Debbie and her friend Cuban-Amer­i­can Ay­mara cel­e­brated out­side the Cafe Ver­sailles, where for decades ex­iles met to plot their re­turn to the is­land and strate­gies to protest the Cas­tro regime. "He should have died a long time ago! He's a crim­i­nal, a mur­derer and a wretched be­ing!" screamed Hugo Ribas, a 78 year-old re­tiree, in a voice full of rage mixed with eu­pho­ria. "The brother should have died too-in that fam­ily they're all crim­i­nals!" said Ribas, who has been in Mi­ami for four years. "It took too long," said Cuban im­mi­grant Ana­lia Rodriguez, 23, who has been in Mi­ami for ten years. "There was too much pain and too many bro­ken fam­i­lies, and nowI'm happy!" she laughed as her boyfriend streamed the con­ver­sa­tion with AFP on his mo­bile phone.

Aren­cibia noted the mix of gen­er­a­tions in the crowd, which was un­like the group of el­derly Cuban ex­iles who gath­ered just weeks ago to hear then-can­di­date Don­ald Trump ful­mi­nate against the Cas­tro regime. "Those peo­ple who said that the ex­ile com­mu­nity is one of old men, they should see here that ... the de­sire of a demo­cratic and pro­gres­sive Cuba is a wish of all Cubans," she said.

Venezue­lans also party

Some Venezue­lan flags flut­tered in the crowd among those of Cuba and the United States, and chants against the left­ist pro-Cuban govern­ment of Ni­co­las Maduro could be heard. A group named Veppex that says it rep­re­sents Venezue­lans be­ing po­lit­i­cally per­se­cuted is­sued a state­ment stat­ing that it joined the Cuban ex­ile com­mu­nity "in their eu­pho­ria ... over the death of dic­ta­tor Fidel Cas­tro Ruiz."

Now that Cas­tro has died, "Ni­co­las Maduro is now with­out a po­lit­i­cal brain," the state­ment read. Cas­tro's death "is the first step for the ab­so­lute dis­ap­pear­ance of this atro­cious left­ist regime," the group said.

Some 100,000 Venezue­lans live in the south Florida area. Many of them ar­rived since the so­cial­ist govern­ment took over in their coun­try start­ing in 1999. — AFP

Cuban Amer­i­cans cel­e­brate upon hear­ing about the death of long­time Cuban leader Fidel Cas­tro in the Lit­tle Ha­vana neigh­bor­hood of Mi­ami yes­ter­day. — AFP

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