BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's a party in Miami and throughout the country as Cuban-Americans celebrate the death of Fidel Castro.
On the Coast, the celebration is a little more subdued for those who suffered under the dictator's regime. But, the news was just as welcomed.
Maria Vesa of Biloxi had already gone to bed, but didn't mind her rest disturbed by her son's knock on the door with news that the dictator who broke apart her family was dead.
"I opened the door, he said, 'Mama, Fidel Castro is dead,'" said Vesa.
Although a religious woman, Vesa has had too much anger to let it go; until now.
"I was just aaahhh, ooohhh. Finally, Lord. Finally, we are receiving the good news. And I'm sorry....some people said we don't get happy because somebody died. Yes, we do."
Vesa left Cuba with her husband, Dr. Antonio Vesa, in 1962. They eventually made a successful life - he as the chief eye surgeon at the Biloxi VA.
She says her country was once a beautiful and rich country, but is now ruined by Castro.
"And now it's empty, it's poor," Vesa said. "My sister wrote to me one time and said I want you to say to the people there that we are living in misery."
But, he didn't change the people.
"They couldn't take away the faith of the Cuban people," Vesa said. "The faith and the hope. It's been there for years and years and years."
Her son Alex Vesa has grown up hearing all the stories.
"It's a shame that Castro outlived so many exiles," Alex said. "The guy overstayed his welcome on earth, so I'm glad he's gone."
But, he added caution.
"It's certainly a reason to celebrate," Alex said. "But it's also important to not forget that just because a dictator has died does not mean the dictator ship is over."
Vesa's grandson, Anthony Vesa, knows how lucky he is.
"There are so many things that are here right now in my life, and they wouldn't be the same in Cuba," Anthony said. "So, I'm happy to be here in this wonderful place."