Things That Matter

These Messages Perfectly Explain That Cubans Aren’t Celebrating The Death Of Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro, the Cuban dictator and face of the Cuban Revolution that toppled the Fulgencio Batista regime, died at 90 on Nov 25 2016. The cause of death hasn’t been released yet. Since his death, there has been an outpouring of celebrations from Cuban-Americans who have been waiting for the news of Castro’s death since fleeing the island for the U.S. But they’re not celebrating the actual death of Castro. Rather, Cuban-Americans are celebrating a chance for a better future for the island nation.

Cuban-American celebrities like Gloria Estefan took to social media to spread the news that Fidel Castro is dead.

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.????

A photo posted by Gloria Estefan (@gloriaestefan) on


“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,” Estefan wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Retired baseball player Jose Canseco also weighed in on Castro’s death.


He didn’t celebrate the death but he gave a quick explanation why celebrations in the U.S. are a thing.


Actor Laz Alonso echoed Canseco with his own post to Instagram.


“There is a reason they celebrate,” Alonso wrote. “Unless u lived it, are related to those that did or lost relatives that did, u don’t know.”

And Calle Ocho in Miami was packed with people celebrating the death of Castro like only Cubans could.


Think a lot of cafecitos, cigars, pots and pans and, of course, so much rum!

Little Havana was the place to be following the announcement.


People. Are. Living.

Oh, and so many Cubanos.


Who wouldn’t want to wake up to some freedom Cubanos?

Obviously, you can’t celebrate the future of Cuba without some dancing.


¡Dale!

Even this abuelita’s Alzheimer’s didn’t dampen the emotion of Fidel Castro’s death.

Not even Alzheimer’s could take away the emotions my abuela Ata felt when she found out that monster had died! Thanks to her, my family is in this country today. ❤️❤️❤️
#GoodRiddanceFidel

Posted by Ivis Suarez on Saturday, November 26, 2016


???

The hopes for a new and free Cuba is transcending generations.


Abuelitas are celebrating with their nietos who are calling their mamis and it is just glorious.

The Cuban flag is being waved all over the U.S. and it is beautiful.


¡Cuba Libre!

Again, they want everyone to know that most people aren’t celebrating a death of a human but the hope of a country.


Looking at you, Raul. ?

Though some are celebrating his death specifically.


Okay, Jerry.

Venezuelans in Miami are taking to the streets to celebrate with their Cuban neighbors.


Venezuela and Cuba share a shockingly similar story and experience given the Nicolás Maduro administration.

Some celebrators are pointing out that Cuba needs more than just Fidel’s passing.


*Raúl Castro pulls out a veladora and prays*

A few smart folks are seeing the business opportunities linked to the news of Fidel’s death.


*starts buying stock for Cohiba*

Is there a #MannequinChallenge celebrating this? Obvi!


On. Point.


READ: Here’s What You May Not Know About Cuban Leader Fidel Castro

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Twenty Years Ago The US Sided With Fidel Castro To Send Back Elián Gonzales, Here’s Why His Story Still Matters Today

Things That Matter

Twenty Years Ago The US Sided With Fidel Castro To Send Back Elián Gonzales, Here’s Why His Story Still Matters Today

Associated Press

About 20 years ago, 5-year-old Elián Gonazalez arrived three miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale from Cuba, on a makeshift raft, in search of his relatives in the states and a better life. Gonzalez’s survival through the arduous waters that would drown his mother and a dozen others along the way, might have been the media’s narrative in a different circumstance. 

The 5-year-old would soon become embroiled in an international custody battle. Did Gonzalez belong back in Cuba with his father or in Miami’s Little Havana with his uncle which many believed was his mother’s dying wish? 

The communist leader of Cuba at the time Fidel Castro wanted him back — and although the U.S. government initially placed the boy with his Cuban-exile relatives, they would eventually side with the dictator

Elián Gonzalez arrived in Florida in 1999 over Thanksgiving weekend.

Up until 2017, the United States had a “wet feet, dry feet,” policy with regards to Cuban migrants — all were welcome. The policy from 1966 allowed anyone who entered the United States territorial waters from Cuba, legally or illegally, to reside. It was revised in 1995 by the Clinton administration so that any Cubans retrieved in the territorial waters would be sent back, but if they made it onto dry land they would be allowed to stay. 

Gonzalez was found by South Florida fisherman in 1999 over Thanksgiving weekend. The 5-year-old was welcomed by the anti-communist community of Cuban exiles. The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service placed Gonzalez with his paternal relatives who lived in Miami and wanted to raise him, however, his father in Cuba demanded his son be returned.

 Under the “wet feet, dry feet” policy, Gonzalez would have to petition for asylum because he was discovered before touching dry land. This small detail would cause a six-month, international legal battle and shift the way many Florida Cubans perceive American politics. 

Courts decide to send Gonzalez back to Cuba. 

While Cuban demonstrators and empathetic Americans supported the stay of Gonzalez — the governmental powers that be were building a case that suggested otherwise. A Florida family court granted custody to Gonzalez’s great uncle in Miami. However, INS had the superior authority to decide that his real legal guardian was his father in Cuba. Had the boy’s mother survived, things might have turned out differently. 

On March 21, District Court Judge Kevin Michael Moore of Southern Florida ruled that only a legal guardian can petition for asylum on behalf of a minor. But on April 19, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled that Gonzalez could stay until his family could file an appeal. When government negotiations failed with the family, more extreme measures were taken to retrieve the boy.

On April 22, 2000, on orders from Attorney General Janet Reno, armed government officials raided Gonzalez’s home with guns and tear gas. A photo showing a crying 5-year-old Gonzalez with a large gun pointed to his face would later win the Pulitzer Prize. 

Gonzalez was safely repatriated back to Cuba.

The Gonzalez decision may have affected the outcome of the 2000 election.

Following the Clinton administration, the 2000 election was a turning point in American politics. Many Cubans felt alienated by the Gonzalez decision, and thus, walked away from the Democratic party altogether. 

“It was humiliating to Cuban-Americans, and the 2000 election was payback,” Miami pollster Sergio Bendixen told the Atlantic in 20001.

Republican George W. Bush won by 537 votes during a messy (and possibly corrupt) recount of the 6 million votes cast in Florida, beating out Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore. Known as “el voto castigo,” Gore received only 20 percent of the Cuban vote in Florida, compared to Bill Clinton’s 35 percent in 1996. Thus, 80 percent of Cuban American voters chose Bush over Gore — which should be a lesson to both parties trying to build Latinx coalition. 

Bush would go on to start the endless war in Iraq, utilize Islamophobic rhetoric in the wake of 9/11, trigger one of the worst recessions, and until recently, was considered the worst president in U.S. history. Gore would go on to warn us about climate change decades before the discourse entered the national conversation. 

What has become of Elián Gonzalez today? 

Gonzalez, in his 20s, is now a communist and staunch supporter of the Cuban Revolution. He was welcomed with a celebration upon his deportation. On his seventh birthday, Fidel Castro himself attended his birthday party. 

Whether Gonzalez is on the right side of history is beside the point because the 5-year-old boy could not have become who he is today without instigation by the United States. Communist-sympathizer or not — he was correct about one thing: 

“Just like her [his mother], many others have died attempting to go to the United States. But it’s the US government’s fault,” Gonzalez told CNN in 2013. “Their unjust embargo provokes an internal and critical economic situation in Cuba.”

Jessica Alba And Valentina Are Some Of The Opening Ceremony’s ‘Year Of Mexico’ Faces

Fierce

Jessica Alba And Valentina Are Some Of The Opening Ceremony’s ‘Year Of Mexico’ Faces

openceremony / Instagram

In the heart of the SoHo district of Manhattan, there’s a very unique store that stands out among the rest. It’s a shop called Opening Ceremony that was founded in 2002 by Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, two friends that met while students at UC Berkeley. The store can be compared to that one cool person in high school that had the best style, but you could never quite place where they actually shopped. Opening Ceremony is that place. The store combines a curated collection from Lim and Leon that takes clothes from the very best designers in the world, and emerging ones too, and sells it all under one roof. They’re also the creative directors of KENZO. All of this is to say, Opening Ceremony is the bomb, and here’s their latest inspiring campaign. 

In June, Opening Ceremony announced they’d pay tribute to Mexico and its people by featuring campaign entirely dedicated to the country, and they’re calling it, “The Year of Mexico.”

Credit: openingceremony / Instagram

“Throughout our lives, and particularly through our Year of Mexico project, we have been privileged enough to witness the breadth of talent and soul that emanates from the Mexican community. In our current political climate, and at a most crucial time to celebrate diversity on both our home front and abroad, we decided to bring together friends new and old who pioneer conversation in the global cultural dialogue,” Leon stated on their website. 

A critical aspect of this campaign is that it shows how non-Latino creatives can be inspired by Latin culture without appropriating from it.

Credit: openingceremony / Instagram

Opening Ceremony is not taking designs from Latino designers. They are not featuring non-Latino models to wear Mexican brands. Everything about this campaign begins and starts with Mexican people, even down to the photographer. In this case, every image was shot by acclaimed photographer Stefan Ruiz. Opening Ceremony is also partnering with the nonprofit group Fondos Semillas — the largest fund in Mexico dedicated to supporting women’s causes and working closely with women-led grassroots groups with the goal of improving the living conditions of local communities and promoting gender equality.”

Now let’s take a look at some of their beautiful models.

Credit: openingceremony / Instagram

The campaign is perfectly titled “The Familia: A Portrait Series,” and it features “inspiring and influential figures in the Mexican creative community,” Opening Ceremony posted on Instagram. “The series, shot in Los Angeles and New York, captures a cast of established and emerging individuals – artists, actors, chefs, designers, musicians, photographers, entrepreneurs, multi-hyphenates – that exemplify the power of Mexican creativity today.” 

The campaign features a slew of influential Mexican and Mexican-American creatives, including chef Daniela Soto-Innes.

 Credit: openingceremony / Instagram

Soto-Innes gained worldwide recognition when she was named World’s Best Female Chef by the World’s 50 Best Restaurant.

Drag star Valentina.

 Credit: openingceremony / Instagram

Valentina may have made her name as a cast member on the reality TV show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” but her influence is an undeniable sensation that can be seen and heard everywhere. 

There’s also Jessica Alba.

Credit: openingceremony / Instagram

The longtime Latina actress who doesn’t typically talk about her Mexican roots seems to be coming around. She stated on Instagram that she’s an “entrepreneur (forever), entertainer (sometimes), loyal friend (always), serious cuddler, terrible speller, self-taught, truth-seeking, boundary-pushing, outlier-oriented, future-facing, detail-obsessed, tequila-loving, Mexican-American, So-Cal native and chingona for real.” Okay, girl!

L.A.-based artist Rafa Esparza.

Credit: openingceremony / Instagram

About his creative process, Esparza says, “I work with land when I make things, many times adobe bricks used to construct brown architectures that confront white spaces and their legacy of white supremacy,” he explained on Instagram. About his new artwork, he said he is diving into “(I’m)migration and the hundreds of concentration camps and detention centers profiting off of the inhumane, daily hauling of migrants throughout the country.”

The campaign also features Cassie, among many others.

Credit: openingceremony / Instagram

Cassie has had a pretty phenomenal year. Not only did she break up with P Diddy after more than a decade, but she’s now engaged to her new beau and expecting her first baby. 

“My current project is becoming a mother, and I can’t wait to experience the transformation that comes through motherhood, especially in creating new music and visuals. I’m an artist at heart,” she said on IG. “Like every woman, I’ve gone through many significant transitions in life that have taught me so much about myself and the woman that I want to become. I’m focused on becoming.”

We also love seeing the designs of Equihua for sale at Opening Ceremony.

Credit: openingceremony / Instagram

As you may recall, we interviewed fashion designer Brenda Equihua last year because we fell in love with her San Marcos-inspired jackets and coats. This year she’s also selling San Marcos-inspired hoop earings, scrunchies, shoes, and much more. 

We just love that Opening Ceremony is shining the line on talented Mexicanos who’s work should be exposed to the world. 

Click here to see more.

READ: This Fashion Designer Is Turning San Marcos Blankets Into Stunning Streetwear