Obama’s historic visit to Cuba calls for oppression awareness

By Nati Bru

“Hi I’m Nati, it’s nice to meet you,” I said to a stranger.

“I’m sorry, na-tty? Or naughty,” the stranger replied.

“It’s Na-Ti.”

“Sorry, where are you from? What’s your nationality?”

“Cuban.”

“Like off the boat?”

Ignorance. It’s not something you can blame on another, but definitely something that raises the hair on your skin. The only way to beat the problem of ignorance, is by informing one another. I hope to do that.

Going to school in Dallas leaves many of my peers, professors and neighbors confused or unaware of what is happening in Cuba. Not just this week, but for the past 50 plus years.

This week, President Barack Obama is making a “historic” visit to Cuba in hopes of creating better relations with the U.S. government. Many see this as a step in the right direction, others — not so much. While this visit is definitely a step, many Americans fail to realize that this trip is encouraging the Castro regime to continue its oppression on the Cuban people and that president is negotiating with a Communist regime.

Obama began his trip Sunday with his visit to a church in Havana. Prior to his arrival, many dissidents were detained by the Cuban government. Among those dissidents were The Ladies in White, which is a group made up of family members of political prisoners — women I have looked up to while growing up in Miami.

On Monday, Obama met with Raul Castro for a press conference. While most questions were for Castro, he was unsure of how to deal with the press — leaving everyone feeling extremely uncomfortable.

One reporter asked Castro about the political prisoners with which he responded, “What prisoners?” And that if there were any prisoners they would be immediately released. The press conference ended with President Obama extending an arm for a hug and with Castro refusing the hug and raising Obama’s arm up. Embarrassing. Sure enough — that evening 53 political prisoners were released after a list was given to Castro.

On Tuesday, Obama plans to meet with the political prisoners and dissidents, who were detained this past Monday. Sources say the number is around 70, but many Cuban exiles and locals from Miami are led on to believe that it is more.

Obama will conclude his trip with a baseball game. What many Americans don’t know is how baseball is a religion for many Cubans, and how this is an exploitation for a game that keeps many of these players hopeful in their chance to live in a free world.

Obama is hopeful that this trip will give Cuba the ability to have Internet access and bury any fear for Cubans to speak their mind.

Many are unsure of what will come from this; however, I was raised to believe that knowledge is power. One should be aware of everything happening in Cuba. One should be aware that the average citizen gets rationed portions of food. One should be aware that jobs are regulated and private equities are mostly restricted to people being cab drivers. One should be aware that brilliant minds such as engineers, doctors, nurses, etc. are being exploited because the government does not pay them enough to get by. One should be aware that the beauty of Cuba, an island in a time warp — is not by choice — but by oppression.

I may not be from Cuba, but my loved ones have instilled in me their desire for a free world and their belief that knowing one’s rights goes a long way.

After speaking with my grandparents, Cuban exiles, I asked what their stance on this whole situation was. My grandmother shared she is only hopeful that this trip will bring change — if not change in the dignity of the Cuban people, then change in the way people see Cuba from America — not just a place to vacation, but a home many left behind.

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