Heavy metal music festival in Hialeah and Miami celebrates the death of Cuba’s dictator Fidel Castro

Perhaps one of the more creative ways of celebrating the death of a murderous tyrant.

David Rolland in the Miami New Times:

Death of Castro Fest Celebrates Fidel’s Demise Through Heavy Metal

Kiss Castro goodbye.
Kiss Castro goodbye.

Nowhere outside of Cuba did the November 25 death of Fidel Castro have a bigger impact than in South Florida. Many Miamians will always remember where they were when they heard of Castro’s death, just as they recall their whereabouts during the 9/11 terror attacks, the JFK assassination, or the OJ Simpson car chase.

“I was in Orlando when I heard Castro died,” Ruben de la Rosa, guitarist of Hialeah metal band Nekromaniak, tells New Times. “When I drove back to Miami and saw all of SW Eighth Street closed, that was what really confirmed it.”

De la Rosa, like many South Floridians, was a generation or two removed from being personally affected by Castro. “My grandfather had his plantation taken away. I always heard stories about people disappearing, the execution squads.”

Though his band consists of three Cuban-Americans, it was the one member with the most tenuous connection to Cuba who came up with the idea to commemorate Castro’s death with a show. “Our singer Paul [Balthaser], we call him the last American in Hialeah. He said, ‘You guys are always talking about Castro being bad news.’ He said we should do a death-of-Castro festival in the middle of Hialeah. We talked about it, but it didn’t seem logical to do it in Hialeah with all the bands who wanted to be a part of it.”

With the help of Alex Marquez, who drums with the band Thrash or Die, they decided to throw the Death of Castro Fest this Friday at the more central location of Churchill’s Pub. The lineup is packed with metal bands, but don’t expect the show to be heavy and morbid.

“We don’t wish death on anyone,” de la Rosa insists, “but Fidel Castro brought a lot of death and poverty. This gig is a thank-you to all the people who struggled because of Castro, to let them know their struggle wasn’t in vain coming over here from Cuba. It’s a celebration for all the stories we grew up hearing from our parents and grandparents about executions and coming here on rafts for freedom.”

Though the main attraction will be the heavy metal, the organizers wanted to make sure this was also a fiesta involving Cuban culture, de la Rosa says. “We’re going to have pastelitos, domino tables, and a piñata shaped like Castro’s head. A lot of people have called dibs on beating the hell out of the Castro piñata,” he points out.

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