Cuban-Americans in New Jersey cheer news of Castro's death

Cuban-Americans in New Jersey cheered the announcement of Fidel Castro's death.

A pharmacy in Union City had raised a large Cuban flag on Saturday along with a sign stating "the liberty bells are ringing. Long live Cuba libre." A clock also had a sign reading "Fidel, your time has come," and a man walking said "one less to worry about."

The news of Castro's death was long anticipated by the exiles who left after he took power.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Albio Sires was 11 when his family fled Cuba. He said Saturday that Castro "defiled democracy, oppressed innocent people, and imprisoned a nation with his totalitarian tactics."

Another Cuban-American lawmaker, Sen. Bob Menendez, said Castro's death offered an opportunity to bring democracy to the communist-controlled island.

Israel Abreu, of North Bergen, says he was a political prisoner in Cuba until 1975. He then moved to New Jersey in 1980 where he has been an outspoken opponent of Castro.

Abreu admitted he felt a certain satisfaction with Castro's passing, but says there's a lot of work ahead.

"They captured me in Havana...they condemned me to 14 years in prison," says Abreu.

He says he languished in a Cuban prison after fighting for revolution, winning, only to be forced to fight again.

"I fought first against the other dictator [Fulgencio] Batista. I fought alongside Castro, but when we got power, Castro said election for what? Democracy, what is democracy?"

Abreu says Raul Castro remains, so Cuba isn't truly liberated. He also says Fidel Castro's brother doesn't seem to have the same hold on power.

AP Wire Services were used in this report.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."