One Year After Obama Visit, Cuban-Americans Urge Stricter Policy With Cuba

Photo by IIP Photo Archive

MIAMI, FL—Nearly one year after a historic visit by former President Barack Obama to Cuba, Cuban-Americans are calling for a return to the icy dynamic that dominated US-Cuba relations over the past fifty years. While the restoration of diplomatic relations between the former foes is primarily about commercial and economic cooperation, Cuban-Americans are citing increased communication between them and their formerly-estranged families, which has, in many cases, led to hostilities.

Thirty-two-year-old Manuel González, who came to the US on a rubber tube when he was 15, told The Daily Orb that his relationship with his mother is worse than ever.

“I left Cuba when I was a teenager because there was no work for me. I knew I was going to miss my family and I thought I would never see them again. Now, I wish that were true. Ever since US-Cuba relations improved, I have had to listen to mother go on about her problems with my bitchy Aunt Rosa on a daily basis. But of course I can’t say anything, because we haven’t spoken in 17 years.”

While Gonzalez left Cuba for opportunity, 26-year-old Mary Núñez left Cuba with the sole purpose of getting away from the family she’s found herself speaking to again.

“Look, times weren’t great when I grew up in Havana. The first 21 years of my life, we were poor. All we had was each other and that was the problem because my parents were on my back constantly,” she explained.

“Eventually, I just couldn’t take it anymore so, I saved up my money and paid a fisherman to drop me a mile off the Florida coast. But thanks to Obama I feel like I’m back in Havana because my parents are all, ‘why are you still single?’ and ‘your younger sister is already married with three kids;’ I want severed relations back.”

Since the presidential visit, more than 400,000 Cuban-Americans have signed a petition for stricter sanctions with Cuba. A bipartisan bill was also introduced last week in the Senate by Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez, both of whom are of Cuban descent.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Rubio made an emotional plea to cut ties “once and for all.”

“The good people of the United States should not have to worry about their Uncle Alonzo showing up at their doorstep at three in the morning with his new wife and eight children saying they heard that you have become a ‘big shot mayor or something in America’ while adding that they need a place to stay for a month or two.”

Former subject of a notorious immigration battle, Elián González, is calling on the Senate to vote against the bill, as he has been planning on a repeat of the same stunt he attempted in the year 2000 and would hate to be met with “the same obstacles.”

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