Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cuban-born Tulsans have different perspectives on policy shift

Cuban-born Tulsans have different perspectives on policy shift
Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:00 am
By RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer | 31 comments

Tulsa neurologist Jorge Gonzalez left Cuba at age 5 and hasn't been back
And he won't return, Gonzalez said Wednesday, until the Castro regime is
replaced by a democratic government.
"(Fidel) Castro has a narcissistic and sociopathic personality, and so
does his brother (Raul)," Gonzalez said following the Obama
administration's announcement that it intends to normalize relations
with Cuba after more than 50 years.
Fidel Castro "is hungry for power and will never let it go."
Gonzalez said his family came to the United States in the early 1960s
after his father, an electrical worker, was jailed for three months for
criticizing the people Castro put in charge of Cuba's electric utility.
Gonzalez said he has had two chances to go back to Cuba and turned both
"It would be like a Jewish person going back to Nazi Germany," he said.
Gonzalez is skeptical that anything significant will come of the
administration's talks with Cuba, which is now headed by Raul Castro.
"This has been tried so many times," he said. "(Castro) wants to open
things up so he can get export credits."
At 37, Nora Ledea is a generation younger than Gonzalez and has a
different perspective on the situation. She arrived in the United States
11 years ago after immigrating through Mexico.
Ledea, who works as an interpreter, has been to Cuba twice to visit her
mother, including last summer.
"If you talk to Cubans, you will get many different opinions," she said.
"I was impacted very differently than an earlier generation. Things for
them were very different, and I respect that."
Ledea, who communicates regularly with her mother by email, said
conditions have improved in the country in terms of individual liberty.
"Things have been better — if you can afford things," she said. "Cubans
are allowed to do things, but prices are really high. There are issues
about salaries versus prices."
Marco Blanco, a telecom worker, came to the U.S. at roughly the same
time as Gonzalez but under much different circumstances. Blanco's
grandfather was finance minister in the government of Castro's
predecessor, Fulgenico Batista.
When Batista fled the country in 1959, Blanco's family had to as well.
"Some of us went to Caracas (Venezuela), some went to the motherland
Spain," Blanco said.
Blanco's father, a Shell Oil engineer, wound up in Mexico and later
moved the family to San Francisco, where Blanco grew up in an
Italian-American neighborhood.
Blanco said his father, now 87, is among those who does not expect much
from the current talks.
"I talked to him this morning," Blanco said. "He said, 'Many have tried,
many have failed. Maybe Obama will be the one to succeed.' "
Blanco himself suspects ulterior motives to the negotiations, such as
access to Cuban sugar cane or offshore oil and gas reserves, or as a way
to tamp down suspected terrorist activity on the island.
"In talking to the old guard, I think they thought the (current
policies) were good for awhile … but they look at the relationships we
have with the old Soviet Union and China and wonder why we can't have
them with Cuba."
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365

Source: Cuban-born Tulsans have different perspectives on policy shift -
Tulsa World: Government -

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