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Archive for Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Miami Cubans have little hope for change

February 20, 2008

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— It was the cherished dream Cuban exiles carried in their hearts for decades: Fidel Castro would die in power, freedom would return to their homeland, and there would be dancing in the streets of Miami.

But when the dictator's departure from office finally came to pass Tuesday, it wasn't the way the exiles imagined it at all. Reality was far less exciting.

In Miami's Little Havana and the heavily Cuban suburb of Hialeah, there was little celebration - and little hope that democracy is at hand in Cuba - after the ailing, 81-year-old president resigned as part of a measured withdrawal from power that began a year and a half ago.

"People are saying that all of this is a sham," 25-year-old Osiel Diegues said at the Hialeah barbershop where he works. "As long as Fidel is alive, and as long as communism remains, nothing will change."

"I never thought he was going to resign. I didn't think this was going to be the way it happened. Sudden death, something, a coup d'etat, an attempt on his life, his own people taking over, something different," said Tony Alfonso, 70, who said he spent 10 years in a Cuban jail as a political prisoner.

"In my opinion, there's not going to be a change. It's one dictator for the next," said Frank Corbato, 48, a truck driver born in Havana who lives in nearby North Bergen.

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