Published On: Mon, Dec 22nd, 2014

Cuban American younger generations, more open minded than their parents

Share This
Tags

Miami’s southwest 8th street, known locally as “Calle Ocho”, is like no other street in America.
Elderly Cuban men hunch over domino tiles in Máximo Gómez Park, grunting at each other in Spanish through cigars clenched between their teeth.
Rumba music blares from the corner cafes, and on the corner of 13th Avenue is a shrine where a statue of the Virgin Mary stands a few yards from a sculpture of a soldier with a machine gun. A plaque reads in Spanish: “To the martyrs who have shed blood for the freedom of Cuba”.
For more than fifty years, Miami’s Little Havana neighbourhood has been the exile capital for hundreds of thousands of Cubans who fled their homeland after Fidel Castro seized power in 1959.
Many of the first wave arrived as near-destitute refugees, but over the decades the exiles have risen to become a potent force in American political life. Even as their wealth expanded and their children grew up as Americans, they stayed focused on one goal: toppling the communist dictator who drove them from their homes.

Such is the exiles’ clout in the key swing state of Florida that American presidents of both parties have stuck rigidly to a 1960s policy of isolating Cuba economically with a trade embargo and refusing to deal with it diplomatically.

For more than fifty years Miami's Little Havana has been the exile capital for hundreds of thousands of Cubans who fled their homeland after Fidel Castro seized power  (Photo: Diana Bejar Diaz)

For more than fifty years Miami’s Little Havana has been the exile capital for hundreds of thousands of Cubans who fled their homeland after Fidel Castro seized power (Photo: Diana Bejar Diaz)

Even as the US normalised diplomatic relations with China, a far more powerful rival, and Vietnam, a country where more than 50,000 Americans died fighting communism, its policy towards Cuba remained frozen in time.
That decades-long consensus came crashing down on Wednesday morning when Barack Obama announced he was reopening the US embassy in Havana and bringing Cuba in from the cold. “Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future,” he said.
The sense of anger and betrayal felt by older Cuban exiles is written across Miriam de la Peña’s face.
Her firstborn son, Mario, was a volunteer pilot with Brothers to the Rescue, a Miami activist group that used to fly sorties over the 90 miles of sea separating Florida from Cuba, looking for the makeshift rafts of Cubans trying to flee to the US.
On February 24, 1996, Cuban military jets darted into international airspace and shot down two of the Brothers’ Cessna aircraft, killing Mario and three other pilots.
The FBI later concluded that the Brothers had been infiltrated by “the Cuban Five”, a group of Cuban spies in Miami who helped the regime’s air force track and destroy Mario’s aircraft.

One of the spies was convicted of conspiracy to murder and sentenced to life in a US federal prison – where he remained until Mr Obama freed him on Wednesday as part of the diplomatic deal.
“The Obama administration has trampled on the only little bit of justice we had,” Mrs de la Peña told The Sunday Telegraph.
Mr Obama’s decision to risk the Cuban exiles’ wrath is partly a sign of an unbound second-term president, who will never face re-election and is on a streak of policy radicalism in his last two years in office.
In just the last six weeks, he has enraged Republicans by announcing a major climate deal with China, an extension of nuclear negotiations with Iran and a promise to allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the US.
But the White House has also calculated that the Cuban-American community is changing over time and that its younger members do no not share their parents’ hardline views.
Cubans who arrived in the US more recently – and so actually lived part of their lives under the American trade embargo – are generally less supportive than those who fled in the 1960s before the isolation policies were imposed.
A poll from Florida International University this year found that for the first time, a slight majority of Cubans in Miami supported an end to the embargo. That number leapt to 62 per cent among the young.
A full 90 per cent of younger people wanted diplomatic relations restored, compared to 68 per cent of Cubans overall.
“There are differences in the generations,” said Carlos Giménez, the Cuban-American mayor of Miami-Dade County. “My views are a little different from my parents and my kids’ are a little different from mine.” Like many others in Miami, Mr Gimenez said he believed the embargo should be lifted, but that Mr Obama had failed to extract any significant concessions from the Castro regime in return for easing US policy. Mr Obama has said he hopes for improvements on the human rights front, but this is a request rather than a demand.
“I asked the White House is there anything in writing? There appears to be a lot of ‘we wish, we hope, we expect’ and nothing that’s ironclad,” Mr Gimenez said.

Miriam Clemente debates with Bryan Medina, right, about President Obama's new policy (Getty)

Miriam Clemente debates with Bryan Medina, right, about President Obama’s new policy (Getty)

Bryan Medina, a 19-year-old student, became an unwitting symbol of the generation gap when he went to an anti-Obama protest in Little Havana last week holding a sign showing the Cuban flag and the words “Goodbye embargo, Hello America”.
Mr Medina is essentially apolitical and said the sign was meant to promote his band, Quantum Waves. But it provoked a furious reaction from older Cubans, some of whom tried to tear it from his hands.
“People were calling Obama an assassin and a communist,” Mr Medina said. “I think they’re ignorant to say those things”.
Afterwards, he reflected on the incident and decided he felt that the President “basically did the right thing” by restoring ties.
While many older Cubans refuse to go back to the island, believing that tourist money helps prop up the Castro regime, Mr Medina said he would interested to visit his parents’ birthplace.
As the sun went down over Little Havana on Thursday night, locals gathered for drinks outside in the still-balmy December weather.
Among them was Oscar Rivera, 78, who was sitting next to a memorial to those killed during the Bay of Pigs invasion, the disastrous Kennedy-era attempt to send CIA-trained exiles to invade Cuba and overthrow the Castro regime.
Using the few words of English he had picked up in his 44 years in the US, he described his generation’s frustration that president after president had not done more to end communism in Cuba.
“Kennedy: no good. Clinton: no good.” As he reached the current occupant of the Oval Office, his scowl deepened and he waved a rolled-up newspaper in his frustration.
“Obama: no, no, no, no good.”

 

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Mexico Travel Care

footer-john-2


Comments

comments

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>