Monday, January 08, 2007

View of Cuba, Castro is Shifting in Miami

While the Herald asks the wrong question ("Is Raul ready to deal?"), the Houston Chronicle is detailing the only thing that will ever push our country into normalcy with our southern neighbor.

View of Cuba, Castro is shifting in Miami
Hard-line exiles met by new liberal generation that wants ties again

By SUSAN CARROLL, Houston Chronicle

Experts on U.S. politics toward Cuba said there is more middle ground in Miami than is portrayed in the media, or even perceived within the city's Cuban community. A Florida International University poll that has tracked opinions in the state since the early '90s has found growing support for a softened stance with Cuba over the past decade, said Hugo Gladwin, director of the Institute for Public Opinion Research at FIU's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Miami's Cuban and Cuban-American populations, like the city itself, are diversifying. Cuban immigrants who arrived in the early 1960s are typically wealthier and more established, and are more likely to take a hard stance on Castro. But in the waves of immigration that followed, many newer arrivals have developed different views of U.S. relations with Cuba, particularly exiles who still have family on the island, sociologists said.

Cubans and Cuban-Americans on both sides of the debate are increasingly trying to claim the middle ground, Gladwin said, and escape the labels of "communist" and "right-winger."
Casanova was born in Cuba and raised in Austin, and remembers driving to Houston for Celia Cruz concerts and to eat authentic Cuban food. She said she moved to Miami from Texas in the early '90s because she wanted to be closer to her Cuban roots. She said many of her friends in Miami also support lifting the embargo, but they are too intimidated to voice their opinions.

"If you talk individually with people in the exile community here, they probably think like I do, but if you interview them on the TV or radio, there's still fear that if you don't go with the hard-liners, you'll be labeled a communist,"she said.

Santamarina agreed, saying it's time for Cubans of all views to start speaking up.

"I want people in the rest of the country to know that there is not just one voice in this exile community. There are many voices."
Whole article


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