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By Christina Coleburn

The death of Fidel Castro has elicited strong reactions from Cuban-Americans across the nation.

The Communist leader, who dictatorially ruled for almost 50 years following a military takeover, passed away at age 90 on Friday. Thousands of Cubans fled to the United States during his reign to pursue freedom and escape the oppressive regime.

Hundreds celebrated in the streets of South Florida when news broke of Castro's death, NBC Miami reported. Waving Cuban flags, Miami residents jubilantly cheered the passing in a core center of the exile community.

The city's main newspaper, the Miami Herald, published a special 16-page Sunday edition with one word on the cover: "DEAD."

Similar celebrations took place in Los Angeles, Chicago and the New York suburb of Union City, New Jersey.

"It's very powerful being Cuban-American that his time has come," Monica Ceballo of Union City told NBC New York. "Hopefully now it's faith and hope for the Cuban people."

However, some were frustrated that the dictator evaded justice in death.

Gallery: Cheers in Miami, Tears in Moscow: World Reacts to Fidel Castro's Death

"I just feel like maybe it's not justice because he just died," said Evan Perez, who left Cuba in 2004. "He made so many bad things. But he just died, like everyone, like good men do."

Elected officials echoed this sense of buoyant caution.

"It's a good day," former Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart told NBC Miami. "This had to happen. It's not that a lot doesn't remain, a lot of work doesn't remain to be done. We have to, there's a lot of work that needs to be done... but this is a needed step."

Republican Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Cuba but fled with her family at 8 years old, said she was proud to represent the exile community and recalled the horrors of the regime.

"People are optimistic that this will usher in a new opportunity for freedom and democracy," Ros-Lehtinen said on the TODAY show. "He's a man who executed a lot of family members of my constituency, imprisoned so many of them ... as long as there’s a Castro in power, there’s not much hope for change."