Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter
MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Protests and political chatter over cafecito in Miami’s Little Havana as President Barack Obama marks day two of historic trip to Cuba.
“He’s not asking for anything in return so it’s just like a tourist trip with his daughters and his mother in law,” said Umberto Gonzalez.
Many Cuban-Americans were against the President’s trip, saying he made a deal with the devil and has nothing to show for it.
“What is new,” asked Mary Gonzalez. “It’s the same. Oppression. Whatever they want to do they are going to do.”
“At the end of the day you can never make a good deal with a bad person and the Castros are very, very bad,” said Umberto Gonzalez.
Even as the Commander in Chief boarded Air Force One within his family on Sunday for the trip, disapproving crowds marched in Miami. The state’s Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez Cantera, a first generation Cuban America, said nothing has changed since the U.S. began normalized relations with Cuba more than a year ago.
“There hasn’t been any reduction of oppression. As a matter of fact, there’s been an increase in oppression, an increase in political unrest and an increase in political beatings,” said Cantera.
Those in the younger generation, like Melissa Martin, is more hopeful that change will happen.
“I’m torn between thinking that the President’s visit there, opening up relations with Cuba, would actually help the people there,” said Martin whose father was a political prisoner in Cuba. “Obama is already there and I think it’s going to help the people. I think instead of protesting him and sending him to Hell I think we should just support what’s going on, try to help the people.”
Florida International University political science professor Eduardo Gamarra said the real change will happen when Congress lifts the trade embargo.
“The government is absolutely adamant about not changing internally. To them the most important thing is the lifting of the embargo,” said Gamarra. “We shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath water, however. The change that we’re beginning to see is largely as a result of what President Obama is doing. I think it’s going to be positive because the change is going to be gradual.”
During his trip, President Obama will not only meet with Cuban leader Raul Castro, he also plans to meet with dissidents so that their voices can be heard.