Utahns with Cuban heritage react to death of Fidel Castro

Posted at 5:03 PM, Nov 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-27 00:08:33-05

NORTH SALT LAKE - Christina Rojas and her brother Jorge Luis Delgado made a promise to their mother before she died.

"We were bound by oath to our mother not to go there," Delgado said of Cuba.

"She said as long as that man is alive, you are not allowed to go there," Rojas explained.

Their mother was born in Cuba, but at the age of 8, when Fidel Castro had risen to power, she escaped with her mother to the United States.

"My uncle was a political prisoner and was thrown into jail for 30 days and left to die," Delgado said.

He added that his uncle survived the ordeal only to have mental issues the rest of his life. The news of Fidel Castro's death caught the siblings by surprise Saturday morning.

"I'm really excited," Rojas said of the news. "Even though it's invisible, he still had a power over the people mentally. Now that it's gone, I think big things are going to be happening for Cuba."

Rojas discusses the possibilities of visiting Cuba for the first time now that Fidel has passed. For much of her life, she's learned about the culture through family and food. That's part of what inspired her to create her own catering company called 'La Cubana,' after her mother.

"She wanted to move back, but she wasn’t going to move back until he died," Rojas said of her mother. "The older generation can now go retire in their community.”

The two siblings said they have no plans to move to Cuba themselves, but they do plan to visit soon to scatter their mother's ashes.

"She would have been elated today," Rojas said.