TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) – The country’s conversation on Cuba is currently in pendulum mode: swinging from former President Obama’s desire to normalize relations with the island to President Trump’s desire to put business and travel restrictions back in place.
Ahead of Mr. Trump’s Friday trip to Miami where he’s expected to announce some Obama-era policy reversals, some local Cuban Americans dining at the West Tampa Sandwich Shop expressed disappointment that the president could roll back the progress they say the country’s made toward being more neighborly with the nation.
“I just think it should be left alone,” said Esteban Garcia, whose father is from Cuba. “I think that they have been punished enough, and I don’t see no reason for closing any of the things Obama signed.”
Garcia’s sentiment was the prevailing one for those who agreed to speak on the record Friday morning at the West Tampa Sandwich Shop on Armenia.
Ernest Garcia (no relation) is retired, but still assists with his family-owned produce business, Crews and Garcia, Inc. The company sells wholesale fruits and vegetables to places like the West Tampa Sandwich Shop, and Garcia says he would one day like the door to be reopened so his family can do business with Cuba.
“I won’t see it, but I think eventually there will be business with Cuba,” he said.
Ernest says his family used to have farms on the island and would import goods to the U.S., but they lost their farms after Fidel Castro took office. Today, Ernest has hope the president will not go too far when it comes to retreating on the policies his predecessor put in place.
“I think he’s going to cut down on some of the flights, he’s going to cut down the cruises, but he’s going to leave a little bit of a connection with Cuba,” he said. “Trump’s no dummy. He will use that to distract from other things that people are talking about.”
The president is scheduled to land in Miami at 12:30 Friday afternoon.