Rhona Wise | AFP | Getty Images
Cuban-Americans on the streets of Miami’s Little Havana celebrate the death of Fidel Castro, Nov. 27, 2016.
But at a table at his restaurant, Janelle Gueits, a Cuban-American millennial said the opening under Obama came with no real guarantees to advance the rights of the Cuban people.
She’d like to see the U.S. press Havana to enact social reforms as a condition of continued economic co-operation She sees an opportunity for Trump administration to press Havana for greater social reform as a condition of continued economic co-operation.
“We need our business leaders to realize that commerce is not the only one of our values” that’s important, said Gueits, a filmmaker whose grandfather was jailed for religious activities in Cuba under Castro. “We need people to engage, but do it responsibly.”
This is a generation that grew up in the U.S. hearing stories of how their families lost everything when the Castro regime nationalized private businesses and seized the property of their parents and grandparents back in Cuba.
“The second generation, the third generation (of Cuban Americans) we understand what the rule of law is, what institutions are all about,” said Evelio Medina, CEO of the Miami Brickell Chamber of Commerce, who is cautiously optimistic the Trump administration will push Cuba’s new guard to accelerate economic reform.
“It’s important to have a rule of law and a level playing field … that gives us the opportunity to really do business,” Medina said.
Freyre, meanwhile, says Cuba post-Castro is poised for significant change, and the potential for U.S. businesses is good.
“If you drop a seed in Cuba, agriculture flourishes,” Freyre said. “If you drop the seed of capitalism, it will grow.”
But for many, just as important is whether greater business ties with Cuba will propagate the seeds of freedom and human rights in Cuba.
Correction: Janelle Gueits was not a supporter of Donald Trump in the general election.