TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Cuban culture is part of the fabric of the Tampa Bay area. Just look around, and you see the rich heritage that influences food, architecture and language, in addition to the multitude of Cuban ex-patriots who call this area home.
“If you want to get to the Castros, you want to bring down that whole thing, you just gotta go through the people and then from the ground up” said Mario Nunez, who hosts a weekly cable TV show featuring topics related to Cuba.
Nunez can trace his roots back more than 100 years. He fears president-elect Donald Trump could reverse course on recent changes between the United States and Cuba, with just the stoke of a pen.
Nunez would like to see open relations continue. “I think you go there and families reconnecting, and people, organizations, groups reconnecting, that’s how I think the people will rise up,” he said.
Not everyone agrees. Prominent Tampa attorney and vocal Castro opponent Ralph Fernandez said he worries Obama’s overtures to Cuba yielded nothing in return. “They never gave anything up in exchange for what they got. You don’t reward bad behavior,” Fernandez said.
Castro’s record on human rights, political prisoners and other violations warrant harsh measures – not relaxed rules, he added. “I probably agree with Donald Trump on two or three out of a million things. But this is one of the ones,” Fernandez said.
He believes Trump may be locked in on reversing travel and trade rules.
Nunez thinks that would be a disaster. “You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting the same result. I think that’s the definition of insanity,” he said.