Miami- The celebration has not yet begun in Miami, but the mood in the city seemed confidant as news broke of President Fidel Castro's latest health problems. The exile community has been disappointed by such reports before, as Castro's health seemed to improve after surgery in late 2006. Nevertheless, many in the exile movement believe that reports of Castro's failing health are genuine, and that the longtime Cuban leader will soon exit the political stage.
Dr. Francisco J. Hernandez, President of the Cuban-American National Foundation, a prominent exile group, said today that "Fidel Castro's death is the first step to a free Cuba. Cubans everywhere have been waiting for an end to this nightmare for 47 years. Let's hope that it will be over soon, and that the forces of freedom and democracy will prevail in Cuba". Asked about CANF's plans in the event of President Castro's death, Dr. Hernandez said "there will be a big party here in Miami, but hopefully a bigger one in Havana." Dr. Hernandez declined to respond to questions about possible connections between Cuban exile groups and pro-democracy forces within Cuba.