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Cuban-Americans laud diplomatic step

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Cuban-Americans laud diplomatic step

Mensaje por Invitado el Miér Abr 15, 2009 4:56 pm

Cuban-Americans laud
diplomatic step



Cuban-Americans said President Barack Obama's decision Monday to lift travel
restrictions to Cuba is good for Americans and for the people in their

"I think it will be good for the Cuban people and families in the U.S. as
well to be able to catch up after all these years," said Rosie Harsch, who
was born in Cuba, but came to the U.S. when she was 11.

"This will be good for the Cuban-Americans to visit with their families
back in Cuba and it will also help those people in Cuba, who have had little
contact with people from the outside world," she added.

Obama announced Monday that U.S. would lift restrictions on visiting relatives
and sending money to them in Cuba.

It also was noted the White House would allow U.S. firms to seek
telecommunication business in Cuba as well. The change would vastly improve
Cuba's Internet and telephone capabilities. Cuban native and Pueblo West
resident Jose Grille said although Cuban-Americans have had the ability to
travel to Cuba in the past going by way of Mexico or Canada, he said Obama's
announcement should make it easier.

"If they had more direct flights it would make it more easily accessible
to get there," he said. "But I'm sure there are still obstacles to be

Grille and Harsch came to Pueblo in the early 1960s as part of the Peter Pan
Flights sponsored by Catholic Charities.

After Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, more than 15,000 Cuban children left
their homeland without their parents.

Harsch and Grille were among a contingent of Cuban children who came to Pueblo
and lived at the Sacred Heart Orphanage.

Grille and Harsch said they both have distant relatives still living in Cuba
but neither has had any recent contact with them so traveling to Cuba wouldn't
be in their near future.

"I only have cousins there but, unfortunately, I haven't had contact with
them," said Grille. "I would like to go back though and I would look
for my cousins."

With an improved Internet service, Grille and Harsch said they would attempt to
contact family in Cuba.

"I have no immediate family there but I would like to move in the
direction to communicate and find relatives there," said Harsch,

who has aunts, uncles and cousins still in Cuba.

But sending money to Cuba, Harsch said is something she's not so sure should

"I think the Cuban government would probably confiscate if not all but
part of it," she said. "I'm not sure that would be a good thing just
because it would give the Cuban government more power. The folks that really
need it won't be able to have it."

Although both agree Obama's decision to lift the restrictions is a step in the
right direction, they said there still is more work to be done.

"I had always hoped this day would come and I'm glad it's started now, but
there's still a lot more that has to be fixed, evaluated and decided
upon," Harsch said. "I think this should be considered carefully, not
something that should happen all at once and I think the Cuban government needs
to make some concessions as well."

Grille said he thinks it's time to lift the trade embargo with Cuba.

"It's outdated," he said. "I think it would be a new tourism
spot for the U.S. It would be new business and a new place for the economy to
export and import. It's another opportunity and it's just 90 miles off the
coast (of the U.S.)."


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