During the tour, I share the political debate among Cuban exiles and between young vs. elder Cubans on whether President Obama's lifting of travel restriction by Americans to the communist island will have a positive impact for the people of Cuba and Castro regime.
The controversy continues. Republican presidential candidates vow for continued isolationism. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen criticized a recent tour hosted by the Smithsonian Institute.
Here is one article that appeared today in the Miami Herald by reporter Elissa Vanaver sharing her visit to Cuba.
We were stunned by the one-time opulence of Havana — a scope that exceeds the most spectacular of photo books — and dumbfounded by its ruination. The contrast gave scale to the loss and longing of the exile, and made the peril of crumbling buildings, reported in recent headlines, a comprehensible concern.
One hardliner, Carlos Saladrigas, has changed his decision and will be visiting Cuba for the upcoming Papal visit. In an interview by WPLG in Miami, Saladrigas shares,
"Why do we think that after 53 years of failure, all of a sudden, there's going to be a silver bullet, and all of a sudden, it's going to work, when it hasn't, and it hasn't anywhere else?" Saladrigas said.For the complete interview, click here.
Another observer, Humberto Fontova shares a forensic analysis of the faux embargo and maintains that the US should remain resolute in prohibiting travel to Cuba. According to Fontova,
The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom shows no loosening in Cuba’s repression during this tourism windfall. For over a decade Cuba has consistently ranked as the most economically repressive regime in the hemisphere and among the four most repressive on earth, consistently nudging North Korea for top honors... For much of the past decade the United States has been among Cuba’s biggest food suppliers. The expenditures by an estimated 400,000 travelers from the United States combined with a blizzard of remittances puts the estimated cash-flow from the United States to Cuba last year at $4 billion. While a proud Soviet satrapy, Cuba received $3 billion to $5 billion annually from the Soviets. So to label our current relationship with Cuba an “embargo” is laughable.[For the complete article, click here]
Miami is deeply embedded in a triangular relationship with Washington DC and Havana. Whoever holds office in the US Presidency will no doubt continue to influence policy and the outcome of Cuba's economic and social state of health and growth.