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Some of Miami's Cuban Exiles Are Disgruntled at Obama's New Approach to Cuba

El restaurante Versalles, ubicado en La Pequeña Habana, ha sido el lugar predilecto del exilio cubano para alzar su voz. Y esta vez no fue la excepción. En la foto se aprecia la gran actividad mediática que el establecimiento ha experimentado a raíz del anuncio de Obama. Foto cortesía del autor.

The Versailles restaurant in Miami's Little Havana has long been a meeting place for outspoken Cuban exiles. Since Obama's announcement the establishment has been the focus of heavy media activity. Photo by Robert Valencia.

The surprise announcement by the President of the United States Barack Obama to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of estrangement has been welcomed by many Cubans on the island and others in the international community. Nonetheless, the hard-line sector of the Cuban exile community in Miami has demonstrated an almost generalized anger.  

What happened on the afternoon of December 17 has made history. In a televised address, President Barack Obama announced a series of changes in bilateral relations, including the creation of embassies in both nations, the review of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, possible visits by both heads of state, and Cuba's participation in the next Summit of the Americas in 2015, which will be held in Panama City. 

The impact of Obama's speech has been such that it has generated a strong opposition among the most conservative sector of exiles in Florida, home to more than 1 million residents of Cuban descent. Senator Marco Rubio (Republican for Florida) called the President “the single worst negotiator we have had in the White House” in his lifetime, while House Republicans from Florida Ilean Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Díaz Balart called the president “naive.

Meanwhile, the Versailles restaurant, a meeting point for many hard-line Cuban exiles in Miami, was the barometer for measuring what many called a “day of infamy.” On of these voices is Miguel Saavedra, leader of the Vigilia Mambisa, a group described on their Facebook page as “a hard-line, right wing, Anti-Castro, Anti-Communist group”. In a brief chat with Global Voices, Saavedra expressed his distaste for the measures : 

Although younger generations of Cuban Americans tend to be a bit more moderate, Gabriel, a young man born in exile, was pessimistic about the measure :

Despite being a strong coming together of both nations after over five decades, the true impact that the Obama administration's new measures will have on Cuba and the United States remains to be seen. 

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  • Wendy Colby

    Obama is only doing it to try to isolate Russia otherwise there would be no lifting of the embargo.I know the Cuban government is not foolish enough to read anything more into all this.If it was me I would tell the US to take a flying leap.

    • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

      Russia exited Cuba with the fall of the USSR.
      Venezuela filled the Vaccum,but recently Communist China began drilling for oil in the gulf of Mexico providing Cuba the infrastructure and money…..I think thats the real reason. Not let China into Latin America.

      • Wendy Colby

        Could be right on this one. Thanx for another perspective:)

    • His Excellency

      Actually, the Radical-in-Chief is simply making more and more concessions to Castrogonia (Cuban American author, blogger, scholar and activist Carlos Eire’s term for Communist Cuba, as seen on Babalu Blog). The President has been doing this since he came into office in 2009. As for the so-called “embargo”, there is no real embargo by definition. The sanctions in place are too full of holes to be an actual embargo. There are many exports from the United States to Cuba, and Washington is Havana’s sixth largest trading partner overall in recent years. Lifting remaining sanctions would do nothing to improve human rights or bring democracy to Cuba.

      • mannict

        you are an idiot acting like you are somewhat educated about facts. when was the last time you visit or shipped anything to Cuba?

    • Guest

      “Isolate RuSSia from whom”? Show me somebody happy to be friend with a klepto-fascist dictatorship.

  • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

    He’s looking for a legacy.
    He already has one!
    Reversing any marginal gains in Iraq.
    A Afghan death toll for US soldiers higher than Iraq. The media stopped “keeping score” of dead US troops in Jan 20 2009!
    Elimination of two secular dictators Khadafi and Musharraf ,the latter with an Israeli peace treaty,and replacing them with muslim brotherhood and Sharia laws!
    Obama you tube apperances praising Islam!
    Obama on you tube mocking Leviticus on the bible.(If HUSSEIN OBAMA REALLY WAS CHRISTIAN,he’d know Jesus Christ fulfilled Leviticus and replaced Leviticus with his pain at the cross!)
    The AL Qaeda morph into Islamic State with Caliphate.
    The Bengazi attack!
    Castro Relations!!

    • His Excellency

      Greetings! I am the American Patriot who debates Diaz Carazo on The Hill. How are you doing? How are the folks at El Vocero? Is Diaz Carazo still having multiple usernames there?

      • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

        Yeah, Lol. “PNP parkerajo” /Samy Sosa….Why the name change?

        • His Excellency

          Now, Diaz Carazo is stating about an “Ad Hoc” committee that supposedly agreed on “enhanced Commonwealth” for Puerto Rico back in the 1970s and he continues to insist on “fixing” the “Commonwealth” based on that committee. Now, I’m wondering, does he debate on Facebook over PR status articles as well?

          • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

            Poor soul’s delusional, I see he’s still using territorial commonwealth legalities to support a theoretical unconstitutional enhancement…. It just means the “ad hoc” wasn’t aware of the constitutional hurdles.
            …as for F Book, I don’t know.

          • mannict

            WOW, I am so Impressed with your intelligence and Intellectualism. disagreements with your kind is just a waste of energy and wisdom.

  • mountain90

    I like this. I hope their relationship will be improve…

    on ap standa, on ap lioa, lioa, on ap

  • mannict

    I am amazed reading all these opinions/feelings or what not. I agree with all of you guys that Obama is just an idiot and politics as usual. why should he even be talking about Cuba after all these years under embargo and isolation from the rest of the world while the Cuban people in Cuba and abroad suffer? dear Mr Obama if you can see this post, please find it in your heart to say fuck it on Cuba.Those who are living under the communist oppression (by no choice of their own)will eventually find their way out and into the US just like every other Cuban living here in the US. Please don’t let ignorance define you. life is as simple as common sense and if some don’t have it, don’t let them define you.

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