Southwest Florida residents react to Cuba travel restrictions ease

Published: May 18, 2022 5:57 PM EDT
Updated: May 18, 2022 6:48 PM EDT

President Joe Biden’s decision to ease Cuba travel restrictions with a return to the Obama-era rules and regulations has divided Democrats and United Republicans.

The President said the U.S. will soon authorize scheduled commercial and charter flights to Cuban cities other than Havana and allow an increase in the amount of money Cuban-Americans can send to friends and family.

Southwest Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart wonders what the Cuban regime has done to earn such rewards.

“We’ve seen the sentencing of decades of prisons, even for minors, for the simple offense of peacefully demonstrating for freedom and the response of President Biden and his administration is to deny the calls for just solidarity from the Cuban people, and has gone out of his way now, despite all that, to actually help, help the Cuban dictatorship,” said Diaz Balart, who represents Florida’s 25th congressional district.

Diaz-Balart took exception with Biden’s support for “independent” Cuban business owners.

“The concept of investing, investing in businesses in Cuba, when there is no such thing as independent businesses in Cuba, that means, there, the entire economy is controlled by the regime,” Diaz-Balart said.

Jacky Figueroa was born in Cuba but she lives in Southwest Florida now and said what Biden is doing is flat wrong.

“Every time something like this happens, the question is, what are we getting in return,” Figueroa said. “We’re not getting anything and they’re getting everything. We’re not helping the Cuban people.”

Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said she fears allowing more travel to Cuba will only enrich the Cuban dictatorship but there are flight leaving from Southwest International Airport to Cuba tomorrow.