WUSA – Local Cuban-Americans divided on generational lines

Scott Broom and WUSA  December 18, 2014

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA9) — Local Cuban-Americans find themselves sharply divided along generation lines over the normalization of relations announced Monday by President Barack Obama and Cuban dictator Raul Castro.

“I find it a historic occasion,” WAMU’s Armondo Trull, whose family fled Cuba when he was a young boy, told WUSA9. ” But I have my doubts as to what will be the ultimate outcome of it, both by what the U.S. government winds up doing, and what the Cuban government winds up doing,” Trull said.

Jorge Garcia Meitin owns Bannana Cafe, a Cuban restaurant in Southwest D.C. His family fled the country when he was only one-year-old. Meitin thinks that it was time for a change. “For me the bottom line is: it has been over 50 years, and nothing has happened, and I think we need a change, Meitin said.

“I think its naive,” said Joaquin Cabrejas, owner of the Cuban Corner restaurant. Cabrejas calls Cuban dictator Fidel Castro a maniac. “He is so immersed in his communist ideology he won’t let go of power one bit.”

Cabrejas calls normalization of relations a win for the Castros, who will get economic benefits without releasing political prisoners or allowing free elections.

Cabrejas left Cuba in 1963 as a 12-year-old.

But Jessica Rodriguez, who operates the Cuba de Ayer restaurant in Burtonsville takes a different view.

“Like Obama said, its been 50 years and not a lot has changed,” she said. Rodriguez is the daughter of Cuban ex-patriots who grew up in the U.S. She believes changes such as expanded Internet access will set the stage for a freer Cuba faster, once the Castro brothers die.