Local U.S.- Cuba policy reaction

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – On Wednesday, for the first time in 50 years, a U.S. President picked up the telephone and talked directly with the leader of Cuba.

To some that image is a sign of change and hope. For others, it’s a betrayal of those who risked their lives, or died to get away from Cuban oppression.

But now, the deal is done.

Many in San Diego are worried for their loved ones in Cuba who cannot practice their religion, or say what they want to say out of fear of arrest or retaliation.

They are wondering what Wednesday’s political move means for them.

Victor Mera said, “Overall it will be good for both countries to put the past in the past, and move forward with a new beginning.”

Victor’s brother, Dan Mera said, “I can’t forget what happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Same system, same brothers in there, nothing has changed.”

Both are Cuban-American brothers with vastly different opinions, talking about the Castro brothers running Cuba, and the changes to U.S.- Cuban relations.

Dan and Victor Mera are co-owners of Andres Cuban Restaurant on Morena Boulevard. Dan says having an embassy in Cuba is a good thing. Lifting the 50-year embargo is not.

“All the military equipment they got from the Russians is broken down, no parts. It kept a tyrant so poor that’s it’s no longer a threat to the U.S.,” said Dan.

Cuban-born cook Claudia Fong hopes this move will bring her closer to loved ones in Cuba.

“Finally, families who haven’t seen each other, will come together, be together. I have family i’d love to meet and see,” said Victor.

As travel and banking restrictions lifted, will more money and resources actually get to the Cuban people?

“Tourist money in, some federal progress without changing the system, absolutely not,” said Dan.

Dan and Victor’s mother Doris runs the Latin Market, and she had to use her words before to bring her sons together.

“I don’t know whether it’s good or bad, but i do believe in peace in the world,” said Doris.

She added, “we really need peace in this world, we really need each other.”

Out of respect for their late father, the late Andres, Dan and Victor never went to Cuba. Their father was against the way the country was run.

The brothers now say they may go, sooner than later.

Both want to see more freedoms offered to the people of Cuba.

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