MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A group of military planes shuttled what was left of Cuba's government off of the island on Jan. 1, 1959, as Fidel Castro and the revolution officially took over.
Andres Rivero was on board one of those planes. He was only 22 at the time.
"It took me a long time, took me a long time to figure out what was going on -- what was going on in my life," he said.
Rivero is the son of Andres Rivero-Aguero, Cuba's president-elect at the time the government was overthrown.
The plane the Rivero's were on took them to West Palm Beach, and they have called South Florida home ever since.
"The way I feel after living three-fourths of my life in this country, I am an American. I am an American who was born in Cuba," Rivero said.
Rivero's father died in 1996 at 91 years old. Nearly 60 years since they were forced out of Cuba, Rivero remembers him as a man who worked hard for what he earned.
"He never lost his skin as a poor guy from the farm. He was very simple, very naive," Rivero said.
But while the news of Castro's death sparked celebrations in the streets of Miami, Rivero said for him, the news was much less exciting.
In fact, he said because Castro's family is still in charge, it means very little.
"We have to take this in perspective, because he died and nothing is going to happen. Nothing is going to happen in Cuba," Rivero said.
Rivero believes that until there is a big group of people willing to rise up and overthrow the current government, very little will change in Cuba.
He said his father would be happy if he were here today, but would know that there is much more work to be done.