The Clamor of Hope

Cubans in Miami sing the Cuban national anthem in celebration of Fidel Castro's death. Video by Bryan Cereijo at Versailles in Calle Ocho, Miami, Florida.

On November 25th, 2016, Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro passed away. Immediately after the news release, thousands of Cubans and Cuban-Americans flooded the streets of Miami to rejoice. Pots and pans clanking, cars honking, and people shouting and chanting could be heard until the wee hours of the night. Compassion, solidarity, and unity is what it all represented to these folks.

Cuban Miami Residents celebrate Fidel Castro's death at 49th street in Hialeah on the night of November 25th, 2016. Video by Bryan Cereijo.


This, of course, was only the beginning of the celebrations.

The following morning, more people made it out to various parts of the city. I went to Versailles – “The World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant” – where already hundreds of people had gathered to continue the celebration. Versailles unofficially serves as an embassy for the Cuban exile. It has been a place where Cubans stay connected to their beloved island not only through the food but also through the people they meet that had a similar struggle and the stories that are shared. 

These stories are stories that I've been hearing for the past 20 years. Stories about the terrible struggles on the island, stories about having to leave family being and families being separated, stories about those who didn't make it while seeking a better life. Stories that I have lived through my parents and through all the people that have shared these experiences with me.


Cuban Miami Residents sing Willy Chirino's famous song "Nuestro Dia" at Calle Ocho to celebrate Fidel Castro's death. Video by Bryan Cereijo at Calle Ocho, Miami, Florida.

Cuban Miami Residents celebrate Fidel Castro's death at Versailles Restaurant on the night of November 26th, 2016. Video by Bryan Cereijo.

Various chants in this video: "Se fue, se fue, se fue," translates to "He left, he left, he left."

"Fidel, tirano, llévate a tu hermano," translates to "Fidel, tyrant, take your brother with you."

and lastly, "Libertad, Libertad, Libertad," translates to "Liberty, Liberty, Liberty."