I predicted in my first mention about President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba that the reaction among Cubans would be mixed. But even I did not expect the muted response from the vox populi that we’ve all seen in the streets of Miami. Or maybe better said, “not seen.”
There is an iconic picture in today’s Miami Herald that perhaps only a decade ago would have seemed unfathomable. It shows a young man holding a pro normalization banner being scolded by an older Cuban Exile woman. The photo is emblematic of what has happened in Miami’s Cuban-American community.
It’s hard to not look at the present political and economic situation in on the island and not recognize that our present policy has helped the Castros stay in power,
The scold represents a generational divide that tens of thousands of us can relate to. We have been raised with antipathy toward the Cuban regime. But we’ve also been raised with the expectation that anti-Castro antipathy would lead to some type of change—something better or at least different.
We respect and understand our elders and all those in the Cuban community who continue to feel a bitter hatred for the Cuban regime. But it’s hard to not look at the present political and economic situation in on the island and not recognize that our present policy has helped the Castros stay in power, while not moving the needle for the Cuban people.
That is why those of us who agree with the free-market principals in which we were raised as Americans believe that the best weapon at our disposal to take on the Castros is free enterprise.
That’s right. The Castro regime has outlasted presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush, Clinton, Bush and, possibly soon, Obama, but up against MacDonald’s, Walmart, Citigroup, American Airlines, Target, Chevron and others like them, my money says they lose.
I am a Cuban refugee. My pain and my emotions speak to me with one voice that says we should not normalize relations. However, my American education and my belief in free enterprise tell me something else.
That is the Cuban quandary.
And that is why, unlike the Elián González multitudes that took to the streets in 1993 unified in principal and emotion against the U.S. government, this time our reaction comes in the form of a young man being scolded by an older woman – for asking, "Why not?"