Some Cuban-Americans are posting videos of their grandparents’ emotional reactions after hearing the news of Fidel Castro‘s death.
Brian David Ramos, 17, didn’t waste a second when it was announced around 1am on Saturday that the controversial Cuban revolutionary had died.
Ramos immediately went to wake up his grandmother Flora Lorenzo, 84, at their Hialeah, Florida home so he could tell her the news.
The teen burst into his grandmother’s dark bedroom, turning on the lights as he yelled ‘Ita! Ita!’, a shortened version of ‘abuelita’, the Spanish word for grandmother.
Brian David Ramos, 17, shared a video of the moment he woke up his grandmother Flora Lorenzo, 84, in the middle of the night to share the news that Fidel Castro had died
‘Se murió Fidel!’ he excitedly tells her.
‘Que?’ she asks, still surprised from her grandson’s sudden appearance.
‘Se murió Fidel!’ he repeats, as she throws off her blanket and gets up in shock.
It was a welcome wake-up call for Lorenzo, who Ramos said left her native country in 1974 to escape Castro’s regime of ‘oppression, discrimination, and mistreatment’.
‘I’ve never seen her get up so fast,’ Ramos told Buzzfeed.
The teen said his grandmother has been calling everyone she knows and is over the moon at the news.
‘She’s feeling great and won’t stop kissing me,’ he said.
Ramos and Lorenzo will join the thousands of Cuban-Americans who have taken to the streets of Miami to celebrate El Comandante’s demise.
‘Castro’s death was something everyone hoped for, but it seemed like it would never happen,’ Ramos said. ‘It’s kind of surreal.’
‘This means liberty, the union of the Cuban people, and hope that Cuba will be free one day,’ Lorenz added.
Ramos and Lorenzo joined thousands of Cuban-Americans who have taken to the streets of Miami to celebrate El Comandante’s demise on Saturday
The party began early Saturday morning when the news about Castro’s death first broke
Ramos’ video has been retweeted nearly 2,000 times and touched many fellow Cuban-Americans whose families were torn apart by Castro’s communist regime.
Another Twitter user named Naty posted an emotional video that showed the moment her grandfather found out Castro was dead.
The clip shows him sitting at the table when his daughter comes up to him and says she has news from Cuba.
‘What from Cuba?’ he asks in Spanish.
After some build-up, she simply tells him: ‘He died.’
‘Fidel died?’ he asks, already overcome with emotion.
‘Yes,’ she replies.
The grandfather raises his hand to the sky in shock and relief, holding his heart before he bursts into tears, his daughter planting a kiss on his head.
‘Oh my god,’ he says, ‘What great news! Oh my god.’
Naty wrote on Twitter that her grandfather had been a political prisoner who was ‘taken away from his family because he didn’t agree with the Castro regime’.
‘He went through so much just to better the lives of my family members,’ she added. ‘I am grateful for his bravery.’
Castro, who led the country of Cuba for nearly half a century (pictured during his last official appearance in April this year) died Friday at the age of 90
The controversial former president (pictured in 2001) ruled the country as a one-party state from 1959 to 2006
People were still celebrating in Miami, where thousands of Cuban exiles live, on Saturday
It was revealed early Saturday morning that Castro had passed away at the age of 90.
His younger brother, Raul Castro, made the announcement on state television that the former Cuban president died at 10.29pm on Friday night.
While nine days of public mourning were declared in Cuba, the streets of Miami quickly filled with Cuban exiles who celebrated their former leader’s demise.
‘Cuba si! Castro no!’ they chanted, while others screamed ‘Cuba libre!’
Thousands of Cubans fled the island for the United States after Castro took power in 1959.
Republican US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American from Miami, said in a statement: ‘A tyrant is dead and a new beginning can dawn on the last remaining communist bastion of the Western Hemisphere.’
More than half a million Cubans eventually fled for Miami in the 15 years after Castro’s revolution began. Pictured here is a Cuban refugee smiling on a US Coast Guard Ship
Cuban refugees on Sal Cay waiting for US Coast Guard to take them to Florida
Many Cubans first celebrated Castro when, at the age of 32, he toppled Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorial regime.
Cubans thought he would be their savior, the one to bring back free elections and restore the country’s liberal 1940 constitution.
But instead Castro turned Cuba into a one-party state, closed independent newspapers and ordered the deaths of at least 582 members of the old government, who were gunned down by firing squads over the course of two years.
In 1964, Castro acknowledged holding 15,000 political prisoners. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled, including Castro’s daughter Alina Fernandez.
‘When people tell me he’s a dictator,’ I tell them that’s not the right word. Fidel is a tyrant,’ Fernandez, who now lives in Miami, once said of her father.
More than half a million Cubans eventually fled for Miami in the 15 years after the revolution began.
By the end of the 20th century, 50 years after Castro came into power, more than a fifth of Cuba’s population had left the country for good.