In a message posted in both English and Spanish to the 59-year-old Grammy winner’s Instagram page, Estefan shared a photo of a family of Cuban refugees on a life raft.
Born Gloria Fajardo in Havana, Cuba, Estefan fled her homeland to Miami, Florida when Castro rose to power.
Her father, Joseé Manuel Fajardo, had been a Cuban soldier and bodyguard of the wife of President Fulgencio Batista — who Castro helped overthrow in 1959.
“Although the death of a human being is rarely cause for celebration, it is the symbolic death of the destructive ideologies that he espoused that, I believe, is filling the Cuban exile community with renewed hope and a relief that has been long in coming,” the “On Your Feet” singer wrote.
She continued: “And although the grip of Castro’s regime will not loosen overnight, the demise of a leader that oversaw the annihilation of those with an opposing view, the indiscriminate jailing of innocents, the separation of families, the censure of his people’s freedom to speak, state sanctioned terrorism and the economic destruction of a once thriving & successful country, can only lead to positive change for the Cuban people and our world.”
“May freedom continue to ring in the United States, my beautiful adopted country, and may the hope for freedom be inspired and renewed in the heart of every Cuban in my homeland and throughout the world,” she added — posting emojis of both the Cuban flag and the American flag.
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Castro died on Friday at 10:29 p.m. local time, his younger brother and current Cuban president Raúl Castro said on state television Friday night. The 90-year-old’s body will be cremated later on Saturday.
A nine-day period of official mourning has been declared on the island nation until Dec. 4, when Castro’s ashes will be laid to rest in the city of Santiago.
After taking power in 1959, the controversial leader persecuted his political rivals and dissidents — executing and imprisoning many of them. Thousands of Cubans left the island in the years after Castro rose to power with many of them settling in the United States like Estefan’s family.