Reaction to the news of Fidel Castro’s illness
Posted August 1 2006, 12:29 PM EDT
# “Oh my God, this is really something! `We are all waiting to see what
is going to happen. I am afraid it will be a while before we know. But
we are excited to know something drastic may be happening,” — Felipe
Mendez, 69, who left Cuba in 1980.
#“Since my youth, I have looked forward to a day without Castro’s
ruthless hand over Cuba. Because of him, I had to leave my life behind
as I knew it _ my home, my family and the country that I loved.
Thousands of other Cuban families have also endured this pain and
disruption to their lives. Others endured worse _ prison, torture and
even death,” — U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., who left Cuba as a boy.
# “We’ve been through this before. So we don’t know whether this really
is the beginning of the end. But let’s hope it is. Let’s hope it’s over
for the dictator. Then we can move forward towards a free and democratic
Cuba,” — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
# The U.S. embargo should only be lifted when Cuba “allows the same
basic freedoms that all people in our hemisphere have: the right to
move, the right to organize if they want to in a labor union, the right
to dissent, the right to pray to their creator,” — Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla.
# “Personally I don’t think there’s anyone else in Cuban government
that can hold that regime together,” — Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos
# “We are calling right now the attention of the international
community and all the Cubans that they don’t lose focus on political
prisoners and human rights activist because they are a target of attacks
by state security police,” — Janisset Rivero, executive director of
the Cuban Democratic Directorate.
# “For us it was so illuminating because it’s our homeland, our golden
land, where one day we want to be able to come and go as we please, and
live like we once did,” — Luis Calles, 67, a Cuban exile who was at
Versailles restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.
# “This is a big surprise; it’s never happened before. No matter how
long Castro has ever been out of Cuba traveling, or in any other
situation, there’s never been a transfer of power,” — William
LeoGrande, an expert on Cuba at American University in Washington, D.C.
# “I tolerated (Castro and his regime) for my whole life, but I don’t
want my child to suffer like I did. “We need a change,”
— a Havana resident last week.