Community Conversations

What do you make of the U.S. and Cuba’s new diplomatic relationship?


We asked the following question on this week: What are your thoughts on the changing diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and Cuba? Thanks for all of your responses. Below are some of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network at, and check back next week for another conversation.

“Yes about time. I came in 1980 at age 7 in the Mariel boatlift. And it has only made it hard for my family in Cuba and for us hard and expensive to visit or send them money. And it's sad that we can't do simple things like Skype with our family. So good job, Mr. President.”

Héctor Capote, Miami


“This will probably be one-sided. Cuban government will benefit. Cuban people and the U.S. won't. Communist governments turn capitalist for a millisecond, opening the door just long enough to get back on their feet, then they quickly shut it, lock it and return to their old ways. See China and Russia.”

Juan Varona, Miami


“I believe this to be an excellent move on the part of our government. Our lack of presence to that particular population has allowed Castro's regime to use the U.S. as an unlikely scapegoat for his poor management of the wonderful resources in Cuba. I also have never felt that embargoes work, they only harm the population of the country.”

Ivonne Calzadilla-Gomez, Hollywood


“A premature mistake. We should not be acting on our relations until every Cuban is free. The Castro brothers are still in power and as long as that is true the country will never be free.”

Jonathan Pestana, Miami


“I am for doing something different in Cuba so long as it promotes democracy. Buyer beware, Cuba has confiscated people's businesses, assets, homes, bank accounts, etc. They owe billions to other countries. The U.S. should not extend credit. Cash only.”

Ana Lam, Coral Gables


“Bad idea. Great that Alan Gross is finally home - his situation was tragic - but Obama just put a price on the head of every American traveling abroad. Also, he did it without Congress. This is going to create wealth for Cuba and its dictatorship regime and will put our banks that lend them money and businesses that do business with them in jeopardy.”

Nancy Dominguez, Miami


“My parents came to Cuba as Peter Pan teenagers in 1961. They feel more traumatized by the rotten experience they had leaving Cuba than anything else. My parents support my work to build bridges with the Cuban people through science as it is bringing me closer to the island they left abruptly and helping me understand where I come from. We share many personal links and biological resources such as coral reefs, migratory birds, sea turtles, etc., yet we pretend that Cuba doesn't exist anymore. Miami will benefit economically as a gateway city for commerce with Cuba.”

Fernando Bretos, Miami


“As a Cuban American, I am outraged by President Obama's actions. Not only is he swapping three members of the Cuban Five (convicted of espionage), but he is authorizing the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Havana and will call on Congress to remove the embargo. President Obama is sweeping under the rug [almost] 55 years of political oppression and human rights violations by the Cuban government. This is a monumental blow to all those dissidents in Cuba and abroad who seek to free Cuba from the Castro tyranny.”

Arianna Mendez, Miami


“With all due respect to differing opinions, and with great compassion and understanding for all the lives and property lost by fellow Cuban Americans after the revolution, I celebrate this huge step toward the normalization of relations between the two countries. The embargo has not worked and we have been doing business with China and Vietnam for decades. Grateful for President Obama and for Pope Francis' leadership in all of this. We shall see how it all unfolds, but to me today feels like a big relief: that's one area of the world we can breathe a little more easily about.

Christian de la Huerta, Miami


“I am a citizen of the United States of America and have long cut my ties with Cuba, emotional, political, sentimental, historical. I left when I was four, with only the clothes on my back. I thank God every day for America's opening its arms to my family and me. Nonetheless, today's event is proof that Communism failed and that Cuba no longer has anyone to look to for economic or moral support - Russia and Venezuela are in shambles. Fidel's stomach must be churning right about now, such an colossal admission of total systemic failure by reaching out to the U.S. in hopes of Cuba's importing good ole American economic prosperity. The embassy is a bold, proud symbol of American exceptional-ism.”

Roger Rodriguez, Miami


“I have this gut reaction to say no! No to it all, and to keep the embargo strong and if anything they haven't done enough! But then I realize that the only ones who suffer are the people. I would make it a bargaining chip to bring more attention to the plight of the Cubans there, the struggle for dreams to bring up the country. I am for a Cuba for the Cubans there. I do not believe In the Cuban exile community having too much of a say in it all. A free Cuba must come from Cubans, but hopefully relaxing the embargo and starting a discussion will lead to that.”

Juan Navarro, Miami Springs


“I am a descendant of Cuban exiles. I am in favor of a U.S. embassy in Havana, but think the U.S. needs to revisit history to ensure that our embassy is not compromised by corruption. Ultimately they will be a pawn in the Castro regime. We need to be ready for the number of Cubans who will look to the embassy for protection from unfair persecution.”

Raquel Penabella, Miami


"It is a slap on the face to every Cuban man, woman and child who endured years of separation. It is a slap on the face for every family who lost a member because they were either fighting against the original Cuban revolution, fighting the loss of human rights, or because they took a piece of furniture or a car or whatever to cross the Straits of Florida for the chance of a better life."

Elizabeth Gonzalez, Miami