OPINION

Raul Mas: Fidel cruelly imposed an emotional trauma on generations of Cubans

A woman walks under a Cuban flag in Santiago de Cuba.

A woman walks under a Cuban flag in Santiago de Cuba.  (2012 Getty Images)

For many Cubans of my generation, the news of Fidel Castro’s death has been met with a rush of conflicting emotions. Most of us grew up listening incessantly of our parents’ desire to return to a free Cuba. They came to America (and brought us along) seeking the freedom that was stolen from them by a two-faced revolutionary promising reform and a return to a constitutional democracy.

I am hopeful that Fidel Castro’s death will usher in a new age of reform and reconciliation for Cubans everywhere. Fidel’s intransigent brother Raul remains in power…but the grim reaper will get to him soon enough.

- Raul Mas Canosa

I am 59 years old and I have spent my entire lifetime hearing about a country, and a way of life, that I never got to experience. My parents died and were buried on the soil of this wonderful adopted homeland…but they always longed to return to a liberated Cuba. With Fidel’s death, maybe I can one day return to the country where they were born, and lay their remains in a free Cuba.

The emotional trauma that Fidel and Raul Castro have cruelly imposed on generations of Cubans and their children cannot be easily explained. Families have been torn apart. Dreams have been quashed. Thousands of friends and family members have been killed in prison, shot in front of a firing squad, or drowned at sea seeking freedom. Several hundred patriotic young Cubans, seeking to depose Fidel, were instead killed or wounded at the Bay of Pigs; 1200 more were imprisoned before being freed for ransom.

Fidel Castro’s messianic dreams of being the world’s revolutionary leader didn’t stop at Cuba’s shores. He trained hundreds of PLO and PFLP terrorists and other assassins to wreak havoc in the Middle East and against Western democracies. He tried to bring his communist revolution to Latin American and other Caribbean countries. He sent Cuban troops to intervene in Angola and propped up a failing Soviet-led regime.

Fidel even urged Kremlin leaders to launch an attack on the U.S. using Soviet missiles placed in Cuba. That is how evil and dangerous the man was.

I am hopeful that Fidel Castro’s death will usher in a new age of reform and reconciliation for Cubans everywhere. Fidel’s intransigent brother Raul remains in power…but the grim reaper will get to him soon enough.

When that happens, a new dawn will truly arrive on the island country. The leaders of Cuba’s oligopolistic octogenarians will have passed and hopefully a new generation of freedom loving Cubans will begin writing a new chapter, and a more optimistic future, for a country and a people who have been enslaved for almost six decades.

Raúl Mas Canosa is a businessman and a frequent commentator on radio, television and digital media. The opinions expressed are strictly his own. He can be reached at rmas@mba1986.hbs.edu   

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