Cubans of different generations share mixed feelings about change in Cuba

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Cuban immigrants Adrian Arteaga and Andy Gomez. Credit: WINK news.

Depending on when Cubans we spoke move away from their homeland and what they lived through in Cuba, their views and feelings of hope differ. Younger Cubans, who moved to the United States more recently are more optimistic about the future of their homeland. But those who moved in the 1960s have less hope Cuba will ever change.

Most Cubans who immigrated to the U.S. for a better life will likely tell you recent protests in Cuba are something they thought they’d never see.

Andy Gomez remembers the early days of Fidel Castro’s reign and his family’s escape from Cuba 50 years ago.

“We were lucky,” Gomez said. “We left three days before Bay of Pigs. But I remember, I remember like yesterday, Jan. 8, 1959, I was 4 years old when Fidel came into Havana victorious after the revolution.”

Adrian Arteaga has lived in the U.S. more than 10 years. He braved a trip on the water before arriving in the U.S. in the middle of the night all those years ago.

“It’s really hard to live that way, you know, like trying to live be in survival mode every day,” Arteaga said.

Cuban immigrants Adrian Arteaga and Andy Gomez. Credit: WINK news.

Arteaga hopes the family and friends he left behind stay and force the communist government to fall.

“Since all this started on Sunday, the eleventh, my hopes skyrocketed,” Arteaga said.

Gomez wants to see that change but would not blame any Cuban who has a chance to get out.

“If we were able to install a pure democracy tomorrow, which is far from reality, tomorrow I’d have to say that the majority of your generation doesn’t have the patience and wants to get out no matter what,” Gomez said.

Both men desperately want to see change on the island they once called home, but both understand that is easier said than done.

“A lot of people talk about military intervention, maybe humanitarian intervention,” Arteaga said. “Unfortunately, drastic things like that, I think they will help.”

“While Raul Castro is alive, nothing is going to change,” Gomez said. “That’s a very sad statement to make from a Cuban born in Cuba.”

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