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The mood in Miami since August when Castro ”died” or whatever has been optimistic and tense.  But people need to understand that Miami is not what it was 15 years ago.  As a result of Clinton era accords with the Cuban government, some 20,000 Cubans a year are coming on visas.  In the past ten years a massive influx–of mostly young people–has changed the feel of the city.  Current Havana slang (¿que volón, tiburón? == Hello) is now ubiquitous even among Cuban-Americans who grew up here.  And people are much more aware of Cuba as it exists now (rather than the Cuba of my parents’ pictures and stories) than ever before.

And that means that Miami is as virulently anti-Castro as ever.  Growing up, we all knew that Castro was bad, but only because of our parents’ stories of the Cuba that Castro ruined.  What I never realized, until lots of Cubans my age started showing up in Miami to share their horror stories with me, is what a monument of sadism, delinquency, and paranoia Castro created in its place.

More about this anon.  Suffice to say for the moment that when Castro finally dies, you will see people dancing for joy in Miami.  But my cousins who grew up here will be watching TV just like you.  The people dancing in the streets will be those who grew up over there and know first hand what it is to hate Fidel Castro and not feel safe telling anyone.


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