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Local Cuba-escapees react to Castro's death - KOAM TV 7

Local Cuba-escapees react to Castro's death

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BAXTER SPRINGS, KANSAS -

Yoly and Michael Gayoso Sr. recently moved to Baxter Springs to be closer to their three children and six grandchildren. They don't stutter when they described how they reacted at home to Fidel Castro's death last week. 

"I heard through the news that Castro was no longer with us, thank God," Michael said.

Yoly thought it was another rumor until she saw Cuban people on the news, celebrating in the streets.

"It was hard in a way that you're a Christian so you should not be celebrating the death of someone. But no matter how much you try not to be in a celebrating mood, you have to be. With what we went through," Yoly said.

Fidel Castro is a nightmare they both escaped long ago. Yoly's father was a political prisoner of Castro's as a result of his being in communication with the United States. Her father was tortured and imprisoned for six years before they were able to get out with help from the United States.

Michael Sr. was one of the 14,000 children brought to the United States by the Catholic Welfare Bureau in "Operacion Pedro Pan" or Operation Peter Pan prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Gayoso's escaped poverty, torture and exile all at the hands of Castro's regime. They've been married for 47 years and have called many places home.

"There's no greater country than this one. I have lived in so many places. There's no place like the United States," Yoly said.

The Gayosos describe how Americans don't have a true concept of knowing what it is to have no freedom. They feel blessed to be Americans, they don't even like going by the term "Cuban-Americans".

Yoly reads a text she received from her son, Michael Gayoso Jr., who serves as the Crawford County attorney.

"He said, "I find it repulsive that Castro's brother ordered nine days of mourning for Fidel's death, when the Cuban people have been mourning the loss of their country for five decades" and I said oh my gosh, all the things we taught him, he got," Yoly said.

The couple feels that while any Castros, including Fidel's brother Raul, are in power, the people will suffer.

Upon hearing of the news of his death, the first person Yoly thought of was her father who endured unspeakable torture by Castro's regime in prison for six years.

"And that is why we were happy that he was no longer around. Because he's a symbol of destruction, death, of the worst unimaginable crimes," Michael Sr. said.

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