In a recent study done by FIU with assistance from the Brookings Institute, it has been found that over half of Cuban-Americans favored unrestricted travel to Cuba. The poll still finds 57% in favor of the embargo, but the number has declined drastically, particularly among the younger Cuban-American population.
This isn’t surprising. The younger Cuban-American population has a convoluted view of the way Cuba was before 1959, how the revolution happened, and where the island country stands now. All the younger Cuban-American generation knows is that their parents and older relatives lost their properties, businesses, and freedoms to a communist dictator long ago. They know Castro is tantamount to Lucifer and that Cuba’s formerly prosperous society has been corroded by years of mismanagement and economic exploitation. The remnants of the past glory are safely guarded by the exiles’ moral community. This is the exile community’s standpoint.
I, as a young Cuban-American, long to visit the Caribbean island and see what it’s really like to feel Cuba’s gentle breezes and the warmth of its clear aquamarine waters. I’d like to witness the festive congas with the clanking sounds of kitchen utensils hitting pots and pans and Chinese flutes blaring. I’d like to stare up at the tropical mountains and admire the architecture and history of its cities. I would like to explore my family’s roots, which originate to the 1500’s and are traced to Jose Marti’s late wife (Carmen Zayas-Bazan) and son (Jose Marti Zayas-Bazan). I don’t care about the politics. The iron curtain that bisects the Florida Straits and the embargo that strengthens it have hindered my ability to fulfill any of these dreams, and I relish in knowing that over half of those surveyed agree that some changes, at least with travel restrictions, should be made.