On July 24, 2014 Herminio Otero stepped foot on American soil for the first time in his life. He’s been waiting his entire life for someone to stand up to the Cuban government.
“I's very good that Trump says ‘I only do business with the Cuban people not the government people’”, Otero said. “Military persons are no good for business they steal everything. I know that…I lived there.”
President Donald Trump is not reversing all of Obama’s changes, but he is redefining what it means to be part of the Cuban military, which could prevent U.S. companies from doing business in Cuba. The White House explained in a fact sheet released earlier today that the policy aims to keep the Grupo de Administración Empresarial (GAESA), a conglomerate managed by the Cuban military, from benefiting from the opening in U.S.-Cuba relations.
“The profits from investment and tourism flow directly to the military. The regime takes the money and owns the industry,” Trump said. “The outcome of last administration's executive action has been only more repression and a move to crush the peaceful democratic movement. Therefore, effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba.”
Otero fled Cuba three years ago after he was arrested for criticizing the Castro regime. He was granted political asylum with his wife. He was separated from his daughters for two years until ABC Action News traveled to Pinar Del Rio, Cuba and interviewed them for a special report on the improving relations. Otero said his mother is trying to get a travel visa to Florida but worries Trump’s hardline stance against the government could impact her chances.
“Trump say the truth and it's very complicated for the government hear that the people in Cuba don't live good,” Otero said. “I hope my mom has the opportunity to come here in the future and see this beautiful country. I hope that in the future, things in Cuba change. But, to change we need to take out the government because the government has all the power.”
Otero is optimistic his mom will get a travel visa He also thinks that in two years the Cuban government will take steps to all their people to be free.
“Step-by-step, people understand (they) need be free,” Otero said.
Leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have also urged the administration to keep Cuba open.
"More travel, more communications access, and more dialogue with Cuba are the way forward for human rights in Cuba," Amnesty International wrote in a blog post, adding that Obama’s trip to Cuba last year opened the door to “scrutiny and transparency” of human rights on the island for the first time in nearly 10 years.
Reversing policy is bad for Cubans, Human Rights Watch said in a statement, "and insisting on human rights progress as a precondition to a new policy is unlikely to bring about change."