Sen. Rick Scott of Florida has condemned reports that several House Democrats have urged President Joe Biden to restore relations with Cuba to what they were during the Obama administration.
What You Need To Know
- Sen. Rick Scott has urged the Biden administration not to restore relations with Cuba
- On Central Florida man who fled the island when he was 6, though, thinks it would be a good thing
- Tourism dollars "is what's going to change the lives of Cubans on that island," Cal Almaguer said
In a tweet, Scott said in part: “This lines the pockets of Cuba's dictators and hurts the people. We can't go backward.”
But for Central Florida Cuban-American Cal Almaguer, restored relations could mean hope for change in his homeland.
Almaguer, 59, fled Cuba when he was just shy of 6 years old with his father and brother. His mother remained in the country for almost another two years.
“My mother, because she was a doctor, was not allowed to leave,” Almaguer said. “That could’ve been forever.”
He said when the Obama administration began to open relations with Cuba, he was skeptical and shared the same sentiments as Scott.
“I didn’t want one penny of any money going to the pockets of the Castro regime, because it keeps them in power,” Almaguer said.
He said after his mother-in-law, who is also from Cuba, went to the island on the last cruise to Havana with his wife and daughter, his opinion changed based on what they saw and told him.
“Tourism is what's going to change the lives of Cubans on that island,” Almaguer said. “Cuba will change as the people come in, as Americans come in, as they interact with that youth, because the change in Cuba will come with that youth.”
Almaguer said if travel to the island is allowed again, he plans to visit his hometown of Cienfuegos, a southern coast on the island.