Miami – Local Cuban exiles gathered outside of a restaurant in Little Havana Wednesday to voice their thoughts on President Obama's announcement to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.
The president's use of executive authority came after the release of American contractor Alan Gross, who was held in a Cuban prison for five years, in exchange for three Cubans jailed in Florida.
Coincidentally, an event with Cuban boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux was taking place next door to the Versailles restaurant, where the local Cuban-American community was gathered. Rigondeaux defected from Cuba back in 2007.
Some of the exiles who spoke to WSVN-7 said the president's decision to resume diplomatic relations and ease economic and travel restrictions on Cuba makes him look like a "traitor and coward."
"Obama ... is violating the law of the United States," said Miguel Saavedra, an exile activist who believes this change is a negotiation with terrorists.
"I think we shouldn't release any Cuban spies," said Luis Valero, a Cuban-American. "They should be kept and prosecuted."
Edwin Gonzales is also a Cuban-American who disagrees with the recent changes. "This is my father, whom I've come over here to see because he works across the street," he said. "I personally view it as a betrayal to him, what he left Cuba for and what he tried to provide for his wife and family."
While some view this as a betrayal by the U.S. and the Obama administration, others say the embargo and the restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba have not worked and it is time for a change.
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