RANCHO CUCAMONGA (CBSLA.com) — After President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba on Monday, some Cuban Americans said they’re hopeful that a renewed diplomatic relationship with the U.S. will bring greater prosperity to the island nation, and the U.S., too.
“I think it’s good,” said David Vargas, owner of Flamingo Palms Cuban Cafe in Rancho Cucamonga. “I think it might open up some free trade and create more jobs for both sides. It’s not a one-sided deal, because, of course, a lot of families over here send money there already. I think it’ll create jobs where it’ll help both sides.”READ MORE: Bob Dole, Who Overcame Severe WWII Wounds To Lead Senate GOP And Run For President, Dies At 98
Vargas still has family in Cuba, including a cousin who says that life is pretty good on the island despite a weak economy. His relatives are hoping opening up trade of spirits and cigars will help the economy.
Still, Vargas is skeptical of just how much progress can be made under Cuban president Raúl Castro, brother of former president Fidel Castro.READ MORE: Inside SoCal: 12/5 Wrap-Up
“I don’t think the regime is going to change over there any time soon. They might get more flexible, but I don’t think it’s going to change,” he said. “I think the brothers will stay in power because imagine it’s like your kingdom. You’re never going to give up your kingdom if you don’t have to.”
Cuban-American Raul Caballero said many Cubans are also hopeful that thawing diplomatic relations and increased trade will bring a higher standard of living.MORE NEWS: 1 Dead, 4 Injured In Multi-Car Crash In Anaheim
“They feel like now that they’re opening up the doors, it’s going to be more stuff available for them,” Caballero said through a translator. “It’s also really hard because, as you can see, it’s not the same lifestyle [as the United States].”