By Amy Guthrie | Browardpalmbeach.com
Excerpt from Adios Fidel
South Floridians have been told for years — hell, decades — that the Castro regime is going to implode.
The countdown to Fidel’s demise began when thousands of Cubans sought refuge in South Florida after Castro seized control of the island in 1959. Many in the first waves were wealthy elites who had the education and finesse to make their plight heard in Washington.
Determined to get back the clout and grandeur they left behind, the early refugees set out on a series of mishaps, starting with 1961’s Bay of Pigs invasion flop and culminating in the frenzy over custody of young Elián González in 2000. In between, South Floridians lived through impromptu street protests, assassination plots, propaganda campaigns, paramilitary operations, and countless other bobbles.
By now, though, even a significant number of once-militant Cuban exiles are convinced that the hardline U.S. policy toward their home country as well as the constant anti-Castro clamor from Miami have contributed to keeping the bearded dictator in power.
“The embargo has actually helped Fidel Castro,” says Ramón Saul Sánchez, president of the Miami-based anti-Castro movement Democracia, referring to longstanding federal restrictions on trade and travel. “He can portray the David versus Goliath. The more we pull, the more he pulls.” Removing the embargo, Sánchez adds, “would take away everything that allows him to portray himself as a victim of U.S. imperialism.”