FORT MYERS, Fla. — Thousands Cuban Americans rejoiced upon hearing the news of Fidel Castro’s death Friday night and the Rodriguez family is no exception.
Julio and Barbara Rodriguez have lived in Florida for decades. But before coming to the state, Julio was punished in Cuba for being a doctor.
“My personal opinion is not good,” he said. “My family suffered in Cuba and lost everything from one day to the other.”
Both of them still have family on the island and many of those family members are mourning the leader’s death.
However, Julio Rodriguez believes the time for change is here.
“The people from Cuba have the right to know something new,” he said.
Barbara Rodriguez said progress has slowly been made over the last few years, but Castro’s death could mean opportunity for freedom of trade and business.
“With Fidel Castro, it wouldn’t have been possible,” she said.
She explained that her father, who was punished in the ’60s for attempting to leave Cuba, would’ve been amazed at the news, because his generation suffered the most.
“I think he would have been happy to see this day come,” she said.
The couple is hopeful that Castro’s death means democracy will soon follow.
“My children will get to visit the place I was born,” Barbara said. “I learned to walk in Cuba, but I learned to run in the United States.”