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What Local Leaders Have To Say About Fidel Castro's Death

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Local leaders are coming out,  voicing their opinion on the death of Former Cuban Leader Fidel Castro who passed away Friday evening and what it means to Cuba and Cuban-Americans in South Florida.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told CBS4's Eliott Rodriguez this was the day the people inside and outside the island had been waiting for.

"A tyrant is dead. Sadly, another tyrant has already taken his place and had taken his place for some years now but we hope a new beginning can dawn on what is really the last remaining communist bastion of our Western hemisphere," said Ros-Lehtinen.

As for what she expects next, she said she believes Fidel's brother Raul Castro will continue to try to run Cuba with an iron grip.

Gallery: The Death Of Fidel Castro 

"He's going to do all he can to delay the island of liberation but he can't stop it," said Ros-Lehtinen.

She was one of the first to take to Twitter about it.

Sen. Marco Rubio shares Ros-Lehtinen's pessimism that Castro's death doesn't immediately bring freedom for the people of Cuba.

His statement read, "Sadly, Fidel Castro's death does not mean freedom for the Cuban people or justice for the democratic activists, religious leaders, and political opponents he and his brother have jailed and persecuted. The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not. And one thing is clear, history will not absolve Fidel Castro; it will remember him as an evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery and suffering on his own people.

But he added, "The future of Cuba ultimately remains in the hands of the Cuban people, and now more than ever Congress and the new administration must stand with them against their brutal rulers and support their struggle for freedom and basic human rights."

Rubio then released a scathing tweet regarding President Barack Obama's statement on Castro's death.

For Rep. Carlos Curbelo, he sees it as the end to a horrifying chapter.

Former U.S. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart focused more on the future of the island nation.

For City of Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez, he hopes this is a time of change.

"It's a joyous occasion, very peaceful, it's an incredible moment in our history as a city and obviously for the people of Cuba, hoping that this is a provocative moment of change in the island," Suarez told CBS4's Hank Tester.

When it comes to leaders outside of politics, Archbishop Thomas Wenski said Castro's passing should lead us to invoke the patroness of Cuba, the Virgen of Charity, asking for peace for Cuba and its people.

He released a statement saying,

"To Jesus through Mary, Charity unites us".  May Holy Mary, Our Lady of Charity, hear her people's prayers and hasten for Cuba the hour of its reconciliation in truth, accompanied by freedom and justice. May through the intercession of the "Virgen Mambisa" the Cuba people will know how to traverse that narrow road between fear which gives in to evil and violence which under the illusion of fighting evil only makes it worse.  "Our Lady of Charity, cover us with your mantle."


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