By BRIAN NAZZARO
Cuba’s Castro brothers are preparing to make way for a new generation of leadership. The move comes amid the deteriorating health of Fidel and the aging of both him and his brother, current president, Raúl Castro.
There is a new National Assembly in place and they have appointed Miguel Díaz-Canel to the vice-presidency. He is Cuba’s former education minister and is hoped to have the ability to carry on the values set forth by the communist party and continue an uninterrupted gap of the Castro leadership, according to Cuban state media, Tribuna de La Habana, Havana’s prominent newspaper.
Cuban Politics Hit Home
Many Cuban-Americans seem to be satisfied with the change in leadership. “I think this could be a very good thing for Cuba, it’s a beautiful country that deserves a good leader,” says Sandra Morse, a New Jersey resident who came from Cuba.
The news has spread quickly worldwide and even quicker among the Cuban population in the U.S. New Jersey, New York, and Florida contain a majority of the Cuban-American population according to the U.S. census.
New Jersey will be among the states with celebrating residents when the change of leadership comes. Many Cubans who reside in New Jersey and Florida still have family back in Cuba who they long to see but are unable, due to diplomatic and political reasons, such as the embargo. The U.S. embargo, put in place after the Cuban Missile Crisis, has taken a toll on family relationships. Some Cuban Americans haven’t been able to see their own family for over twenty years because if they return to Cuba they may not be allowed to leave due to forced repatriation.
“I’m very happy about this news. It’s about time Cuba wasn’t ruled by a Castro, I’m happy for my family there and I look forward to what will happen in 2018,” says Luis Sarduy a New Jersey resident who fled Cuba with his family as a child.
Speculation from many publications such as the Guardian out of London show that the political tension may not thaw between the U.S. and Cuba unless this new leader makes some changes to the Cuban policy. If the tension thaws and the embargo is lifted, it could boost Cuba’s tourism and economy dramatically, as well as allot for many Cuban expatriates to be reunited with family.
“My mother and uncle came here with my grandmother in a raft when they were small, 30-something years ago. They fled Cuba under the cover of darkness leaving the rest of their family behind,” says Lauren Bayda, 20, of Lincoln Park, New Jersey. “I know it would mean so much to my mom and uncle to be able to see the family that they left behind all those years ago.”
There is an entirely new generation of American-born Cubans whose parents left during the revolution. Their reaction is different but seems to be different considering this has always been their home.
“I’m not as invested in Cuban politics as my family is but I’m definitely looking forward to the possibility of a better leader for Cuba and the chance for things to be better there,” says Amanda Morse, Cuban American student at Ramapo. “I would love nothing more than to be able to go there with my family to see where they come from without the worry or the stigma that there is today.”