MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It was one year ago that former Cuban leader Fidel Castro died. His death sparked celebrations in the streets of Little Havana and days of mourning in Cuba but what has changed, if anything, since then?
The news broke the day after Thanksgiving 2016 when Raul Castro announced his brother; Fidel Castro had died at age 90.
Reaction in Miami’s Little Havana was immediate.
“Are you kidding, this is the beginning of change in Cuba,” said one exile. “I came here in 1960 and I’ve been waiting for this for a long long time,” said another.
Now, one year later, the hopes many exiles had about change on the island have been dashed.
A year ago, the US and Cuba were seeing a warming of relations under former President Barack Obama.
President Trump has tightened travel to the island, and scaled back relations with Raul Castro’s government.
“I think Raul is challenged on what to do next,” said University of Miami acting Cuba Studies Director Andy Gomez.
Gomez says US-Cuba relations are back to where they were when Fidel was alive.
“I think we’re back to the Cold War days, the process of normalization started under President Obama they’re gone.”
And how is Cuba doing economically as compared to last year?
“I think Cuba right now is probably in worse shape than they were in 1991 at the start of the special period when the Soviet Union collapsed,” replied Gomez.
Tourism is down thanks to Hurricane Irma, and stories of American diplomats injured in mysterious sonic attacks.
Raul Castro is set to step down next February, when Miguel Diaz Canel is expected to become Cuba’s new president.
The official transfer of power in Cuba is scheduled for February 24 2018, when Raul Castro steps down as president.
Diaz Canel, who is currently first vice president of the council of state and a longtime leader of the Cuban communist party, is expected to take over with Raul Castro expected to watch closely in the background.