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Miami's Cuban-Americans look to Trump, post Castro

Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 01:08

Cuban-Americans in Miami chant ''he's gone, he's gone,'' as celebrations over the death of Fidel Castro move into their second day, with some of them saying they are eager to see how President-elect Donald Trump handles U.S. relations with the island nation. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Celebrations by Cuban-American over the passing of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro moved into a second day on Sunday (November 27), near the Versailles restaurant in Miami, a famed spot for exiled Cubans. Many honked horns while others cheered and danced to mark the revolutionary leader's passing. Despite the festivities, questions loom about the future of U.S.-Cuban relations once President Barack Obama's term ends and President-elect Donald Trump assumes the office. Some believe Obama ceded too much to Havana and are eager to see how his successor handles relations with the island nation. The death of "El Comandante" has added to worries among some Cuban-Americans that Trump will slam the door shut on nascent trade and travel ties, undoing two years of detente between the estranged neighbors. Trump has struck a very different tone from Obama, who reached an agreement two years ago with Castro's younger brother President Raul Castro to end half a century of hostilities. Late in his election campaign, Trump sought to reassure the Cuban-American vote in Florida that he was firm in his opposition to the Castros, and pledged that, if elected, he would close down the newly re-opened U.S. embassy in Havana. Wilbert Perez, a Cuban American, called on Trump to live up those promises. "Trump has to do what the Cubans want. Give liberty to the Cubans. Get the Castros out of there, taking things that are not theirs," he told Reuters. "Cuba needs to be free. And Trump is the one that is going to help us. Long live Trump!" During the primaries, Trump said he thought restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba was fine, but that Obama ought to have cut a better deal. Outside Versailles on Sunday, Miami psychologist Mayra Miro criticized Obama's policies and looked to Trump to do more for Cubans on the island. "First, we hope he (Trump) will not make the relations towards unity as the current President Obama when there was no type of change in Cuba's system. There are still political prisoners in jail, there was no change in that. The oppression is still being maintained," she told Reuters. "President Obama did not do anything for liberty in Cuba, which will not happen as long as Communism exists in Cuba," she added. Having won the presidency, it is hard to know what Trump's approach to Cuba will be. Obama did not succeed in convincing Congress to lift the United States' tough economic embargo on Cuba, but he personally opposed the sanctions and used executive action to allow more contact and commerce. The first U.S. commercial flight to Havana in about half a century is due to arrive on Monday (November 28). Trump could easily review such measures. He has not been clear on his position, but has included Mauricio Claver-Carone, a leading advocate for maintaining a tough economic embargo, in his transition team. Without giving any specifics, Trump said on Saturday (November 27) that his administration would "do all it can" once he takes office on Jan. 20 to help increase freedom and prosperity for Cuban people after the death Castro.

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Miami's Cuban-Americans look to Trump, post Castro

Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 01:08