Death of Castro signals hope for change in U.S.-Cuba relations

By Kevin Williams

This past Thanksgiving holiday was so much more special than others in recent memory. Besides the gluttonous joy of overeating Aunt Phyllis’ famous pumpkin pie, the Western world celebrated the death of longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

A different world

Like all of you, I had long since become used to Fidel Castro’s presence on the world stage. Even when he became too ill to rule and the baton of evil was passed to his brother, the more malleable Raul Castro, Fidel Castro’s shadow always loomed large over the Cuban people and lovers of freedom and democracy.

He was always just there, like your liberal uncle who lived in a commune for one summer in the early 1970s and won’t shut up about it at the Thanksgiving table.

Awakening to a world without Castro evoked the same elation felt when Donald Trump snagged the magical 270 electoral college votes on Nov. 8.

The same sense of hope and change were palpable on the day of Castro’s death – which was Black Friday, I might add. Don’t you just love the irony that the biggest proponent of Communist doctrine and rhetoric died on the most Capitalist day of the year? It’s a realization more delicious that your grandmother’s turkey dressing.

Communism on a t-shirt

Those of Baby Boomer age and older well remember the Castro regime, which began in 1959, at the tail end of the Eisenhower administration. They remember the ‘duck and cover’ drills at school, when the world teetered on the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

As if those small wooden desks would protect you from the blast of an atom bomb. Castro represented the fear of the death of the American dream and our very way of life.

In more recent generations, figures like Castro and Che Guevara stand only as pop culture symbols to Millennials and younger. Their meaning diluted to a face on a cheap t-shirt, it’s good to know that Castro’s regime means so little to younger folks.

To those who are older (and wiser), Castro’s death means renewed hope for improve relations between Cuba and the U.S. President-elect Trump has already expressed optimism for the future of our countries’ relationship. The timing is perfect. Both countries have now lost their despot leaders – Cuba’s Castro and America’s Barack Obama – and a new opportunity for peace is at hand.