How local Cuban-Americans feel about Obama’s plan to reunite the two nations

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CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Crowds flooded the streets of Miami late Wednesday night. Some of those people are in support and some are against a major move that will change the United States’ relationship with Cuba.

In a sudden decision, President Obama is re-establishing ties with the communist country.
The plan involves reopening U.S. Embassies in Cuba along with easing travel and economic restrictions.

That means some Americans can soon travel there and use their credit and debit cards to buy stuff and bring it back, like world-famous Cuban cigars.

The change in diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba does not lift the ban immediately but there will be some changes.

Right now, Americans can only go with an educational group or by obtaining a license but that protocol is likely to change in the coming months.

Travelers are also required by the U.S. government to keep a journal while there and keep that record for the next five years.

President Obama’s announcement to re-establish diplomatic ties doesn’t lift the ban on tourism immediately but it does give hope to airlines, hotel chains and cruise companies; as well as give some relief to travelers.

They’ll be able to use credit and debit cards and will not be able to bring home $400 worth of Cuban goods–including Cuban cigars which Brammertz told WINK News even pictures of the cigars were not allowed when she was there.

“Not knowing where you are from, your roots,” said Cuban-American Javier Ramiers.

Ramiers escaped to the U.S. from Cuba when he was just 3 years old.

“We came over here because of the system, the corruption,” he said.

Now Ramiers and many younger Cuban-Americans in Southwest Florida are cautiously optimistic for President Obama’s plan to normalize relations between the two countries.

“A Cuba of tomorrow where we could do business, go back and forth,” said Ramiers.

“It is hard. It is not easy,” said Yoedel Hernandez.

Hernandez’ family is torn apart because he fled to America, but his siblings still live in Cuba.
Now, Hernandez has hope they will soon reunite.

“It is nice. it is something that hasn’t been done for years,” said Hernandez.

But not everyone is pleased, Maria Valencia’s son is Cuban-American and tells WINK News, the people of Cuba are still controlled by a communist government and says this will not benefit her son until Cuba is truly free.

“And I feel now we just help the government for making more money,” said Valencia.

Demonstrators in Miami used the backdrop of the café Versailles in Little Havana. The restaurant is a well-known hub for Miami Cuban exiles.

The crowd gathered during the release of American Alan Gross from a Cuban prison. Some in the crowd said the move was brave. Others said they felt betrayed by President Obama.

The historic move is drawing criticism and praise from top Florida lawmakers.

Senator Bill Nelson said he supports the move.

“It’s important to bring us into the 21st century, but its going to be dependent upon this Castro regime that has been nothing but a brutal dictatorship.”

Florida Senator Marco Rubio blasted President Obama Wednesday.

“This president is the single worst negotiator we have had in the White House in my lifetime who has basically given the Cuban government everything it asked for and received no assurances of democracy and freedom in return,” said Rubio.

The trade embargo against Cuba remains in place. Congress would have to sign off to lift it.

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