LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – In 1960 Cuban ended all relations with the U.S. and now nearly 60 years later, many are wondering what will become of the relationship between the two nations following the death of communist leader Fidel Castro.
Fidel Castro died November 25, 2016. He had been in control of Cuba since 1959, establishing the first and only communist nation in the Western hemisphere.
“They’ve seen the devastation to their country and they have family there that are starving, and have no electricity, and have very little because of the government,” said Christa Billeaud.
Christa Billeaud’s father lived in Cuba during the rise of Castro. Her father and his family moved to Louisiana in 1960, becoming the first Cuban refugee family to settle in Acadiana.
“My grandfather saw the government was changing and everything was changing so he knew had to get his family out to protect them and for their freedom. He knew that it was not going to be long before they lost all their rights,” said Billeaud.
Billeaud said while many feared Castro, others thought of him as a hero.
“The people that were raised with Castro, from the time that they were young, were indoctrinated to believe he was like their father and so they had a love for him because he provided what they needed.”
Only time will tell what will happen now, but many Cuban-Americans are hoping for change.
“It’s a time of hope, I think that all Cuban-Americans have hope that their country will be free, that they will be free and be able to visit their homeland again, that is so amazingly beautiful,” said Billeaud.