Exiles in Miami-Dade meet to plan Cuba’s Democratic transition

The Biden administration is at the forefront of many discussions here in South Florida, days after the administration announced a new policy towards Cuba and Venezuela.

DORAL, Fla. – President Joe Biden’s administration is lifting other former President Donald Trump-era restrictions with the hope of curbing migration at sea and at the U.S.-Mexico border.

On Cuba’s Independence Day from Spain, local activists and politicians came together to discuss the U.S. policy in Latin America. Exiles from different countries denounced oppressive governments.

There was a moment of silence for the victims of Communism on Friday and people gathered and planned to talk about a Democratic transition in Cuba.

Orlando Gutierrez, of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, said an authoritarian regime can be changed with a few reforms.

“A totalitarian regime is a different animal, far more repressive, far more dangerous and you need complete political change for there to be an improvement for the people,” Gutierrez said.

Those here in exile said a Democratic Cuba will have profound effects on the rest of Latin America.

“The head of this monster, the brain trust is in Havana and what’s good for Democracy in Havana is good for Democracy in Managua,” Manuel Prado, of Nicaraguan American Foundation, said.

At another gathering, representatives from the Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan communities are asking Biden not to invite leaders of those countries to the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.

“They have no respect for their people’s rights or lives so they have no place here,” said Ana Abaunza, of Initiative for Change, Justice, and Democracy.

The Biden administration is at the forefront of many discussions here in South Florida, days after the administration announced a new policy towards Cuba and Venezuela.

The Biden administration will be expanding consular services and visa processing at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The U.S. is also reinstating the Cuban family reunification parole program.

Biden is also allowing more travel to other cities and lifting monetary limits on what Cubans in South Florida can send to their families.

Many in South Florida who want to travel to the island and be able to send money welcomed the new policy. But at a Republican event on Friday in Doral, Rep. Carlos Gimenez denounced the new policy.

“Remittances no, I don’t believe that remittances should be higher because remittances end up in the Cuban government’s hands,” Gimenez said.

There have been reports that the White House is considering allowing a representative from Cuba to attend the Summit of the America. The decision has not been finalized.


About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.