Petal businessman who fled Communist Cuba reacts to death of Cas - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Petal businessman who fled Communist Cuba reacts to death of Castro

Ivan Marino greets customers at his restaurant Saturday afternoon. Photo credit WDAM. Ivan Marino greets customers at his restaurant Saturday afternoon. Photo credit WDAM.
PETAL, MS (WDAM) -

A Petal businessman who fled Cuba 23 years ago is among those reacting to the death of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. 

President Raul Castro announced his brother's death on state television Friday night.

He was 90 years old.

Ivan Marino, who owns El Mariachi Loco restaurant, escaped Cuba in 1993 by swimming to American-controlled Guantanamo Bay.

He became a U.S. citizen five years later.  

Marino hopes that the passing of Castro will mean more freedoms for the Cuban people.

"I hope everything changes for the better, for the citizens in Cuba and the ones that still think that Castro was good, will open their eyes and see what freedom really means," said Marino. "I'm kind of waiting and seeing the changes in Cuba and hopefully, it will be better for the people in Cuba and what (the U.S. and Cuba) have in common." 

Some of Marino's family have joined him in the U.S., but many others still live in Cuba.   

Cuba has declared nine days of national mourning for Castro.  

He will be buried in a ceremony on Dec. 4.

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