Yesterday’s announcement by Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro of a new relationship between their 2 nations surprised Americans and Cubans alike.
The news was particularly stunning for the small number of Westporters with Cuban heritage.
Yvonne Sabin Claveloux is a 1983 graduate of Staples High School. She grew up here, but her parents are Cuban. She says:
I think it’s time, but I have very mixed feelings. On the positive side, this gives hope that it will open dialogue to address issues in a diplomatic level.
On the negative, it will give the Castros a lifeline at a moment when they are desperate due to Venezuela’s crash due to decline in oil prices. There are also no concessions regarding the human rights of the Cuban people.
Tony Hernandez is 80 years old. He was born and raised in Cuba, but left in 1960. He says:
I feel that President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba’s communist regime is a very positive step. It ends 53 years of isolation, and simultaneously eases all the vicissitudes and misery the Cuban people have been suffering.
His daughter, Maite Hernandez, says:
I just read that 7 million tourists are expected to visit Cuba, as opposed to 2 million in the past year. On the one hand, the flow of visitors and the money they bring will definitely boost the economy of Cuba, at a time where they have run out of countries to support them. I just hope this will translate to a better economic level for the local Cubans.
It remains to be seen whether human rights issues will be addressed. There can be no compromise regarding this matter. Otherwise this move by President Obama will be seen as political, with the only purpose of securing himself a place in the history books.