Article's Author: SFL Style contributor
Publish date: September 22, 2018
President Obama made his historic visit to Cuba last month and it appears that this will start a new relationship between the two countries. But what do Cuban Americans who reside in Miami think about it?
The majority of Cuban Americans residing in Miami are all for better relations with the USA. Many of them still have families and friends in Cuba whose lives have still not improved. So there is an overwhelming consensus that the USA should abolish all embargoes and go full throttle. However, the world of politics runs slow and Congress has still not decided to lift all embargoes. The reason is that even though Cuba has opened its arms and wants to welcome Americans, there are still some issues that remain. The first and foremost is that of human rights. There are many people in Cuba who have been imprisoned for political dissent and the US government feels that Cuba should change and free them. Further, Cuba still maintains an authoritarian control of its population and jailing anyone who disagrees with the government. In a democracy, vocal dissent should not be a crime. Secondly there is an issue of some Americans who committed crimes in the USA and fled to Cuba. The USA wants them to return and face justice. It is these two sticking points that still need to be resolved.
Overall, the younger generation of Cuban Americans who have never experienced the lifestyle in Cuba want relationships to be fully established, as they do not see what the big deal is. However, there are still some hard liner older Cuban Americans who think that America should not open up relations with Cuba. They feel that Cuba needs to be punished.
Whatever the sentiments among Cuban Americans, the US and Cuba are slowly going forward with engagement. There are now more flights to Cuba from the USA than ever before. Cuba has increased the number of touristic visa for Americans. Americans are now helping build hotels and the tourism industry in Cuba. One has to remember that these two countries were bitter enemies for over 70 years and still the older generation on both sides harbor resistance to integration.
But times have changed and Cuba has at least realized that decades of socialist rule has not borne fruit. So the country is slowly turning towards democratic reform and trying to improve the lives of Cubans. The process of normalization relations will eventually occur between Cuba and the USA because both countries have realized that neither has anything to gain by being enemies.