Letter to the editor:

There are many great aspects of spending my winter break in Miami, Fla. While expecting to experience warm weather, beautiful beaches and a city filled with Latin American culture, I did not expect to be in Miami for the announcement of the restoration of all diplomatic relations with Cuba. Since Fidel Castro took over the island, hundreds of thousands of Cubans, including my family, have traveled to Miami in order to escape the cruelty of the regime and seek greater opportunities in America. Over the years, Miami has become know as “the capital of Latin America” because its population represents various countries from the Caribbean and Latin America, however, the Cuban American population still remains dominant.

In order to understand the differences of opinions over restoring relations with Cuba, one must understand the differences of Cuban Americans. The people who left Cuba right after the dictatorship was established tend to not support restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba. Although they love their native country, they will do anything to punish and remove Fidel and his followers. Many Cuban Americans, including my family members, refuse to go to Cuba because they believe it legitimizes that regime. Therefore, when the United States agreed to restore its relationship with Cuba, those people saw it as the United States accepting the cruelty and oppression of the regime. They do not want Cuba to receive any help or support because it will strengthen the regime and prolong the dictatorship and communist party. This position may sound extreme, but keep in mind that many Cubans had to completely uproot their lives, change their lifestyle and separate their family, so the idea of supporting a dictatorship that had such an effect on their lives seems heinous.

Another opinion among some Cuban Americans supports the United States restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba. The opinion is mostly shared by people who have migrated from Cuba more recently. They believe that the current solution that was put in place over 50 years ago is ineffective and harmful. They have seen the effect that isolation has had on the island, and how it has strengthened and stabilized the dictatorship and further hurt the structure and people of Cuba. Instead of focusing of punishing the dictatorship, they want to help Cuban Americans and better prepare for the future of the island.

I am in support of restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, and hope that the embargo will soon be lifted. I don’t think that the current policy is worth pursuing because it is based on isolation and has been ineffective for over 50 years. There is no doubt that the actions of Castro and the communist party in Cuba has been cruel and ruthless, and has increased suffering and absence of human rights in Cuba. However, the regime is very strong and the chances that the people of Cuba will be able to overthrow the government on their own is very slim.

I believe the only chance Cuba has to become more democratic and provide better life conditions for its citizens is to restore relations with “superpower countries,” such as the United States, so it can become more exposed to more progressive ideals and values. In contrast to the opinions of many Cuban Americans, the Cuban government doesn’t need the United States government or visitation of Americans to legitimize it, because it has been legitimate for over 50 years without any major challenges to its authority.

I believe restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba is in the best interest for both countries. Cuba will be exposed to American values and hopefully become more democratic and grant its citizens greater rights and freedoms. While some people worry that the Cuban government will take advantage of the United States, considering their technology and gross domestic product, I would not by any means consider Cuba a major threat to the United States.

I think lifting the embargo would be tremendously beneficial to Cuba. Over the past 50 years, Cuba has had little to no exposure to modern technology and has economically fallen behind the rest of the world. Therefore, if Cuba were to have a free market in the future, it would suffer tremendously, causing more problems for Cuba. As of right now, Cuba is in a terrible state, the dictatorship is cruel, people are suffering from lack of medical care and decent living conditions, the economy and technology is over half a century behind the rest of the world and the situation seems to be worsening. There is no point in continuing a solution that has proven to be ineffective for 50 years. History proves that countries that are kept under isolation and harsh punishment become more extreme in their ideals and could become a threat to the rest of the world.

On the other hand, countries that have closer relationship to the United States tend to become more democratic, because they are become exposed to American values and ideals. I see the restoration of diplomatic relations to Cuba as hope that the country’s government will become more progressive and the people of Cuba will be relieved of oppression and inhumane conditions.

Caroline Gonzalez
First-year in political science and economics
Campaign and elections coordinator for College Democrats