NOT SO FAST
Cuban President Raul Castro told his National Assembly Saturday that detente with U.S. President Barack Obama doesn't mean Cuba will bend to U.S. efforts to change his communist government. "No one should pretend that in order to improve its relations with the United States, Cuba would renounce the ideas it has fought for," Castro said.
Several-hundred anti-Castro protesters waved Cuban and American flags and chanted "Obama, traitor" Saturday in Little Havana, expressing their anger that the U.S. president used executive orders to declare an end to a half-century's efforts to isolate Cuba.
Democratic and Republican analysts alike see Obama's overtures to Cuba as an effort to break the GOP's claim on the Cuban-American vote, saying that if tensions ease between the two countries, Florida's Cubans will be more likely to focus on other issues that Democrats use to appeal to Hispanics nationwide.
A FUTURE IN CUBA?
Cuban law forbids foreigners from buying property on the island, but once diplomatic ties are re-established, some Cuban-Americans hope this will change as well. "This could completely change my future expectations about my relationship with Cuba, says Jovan Rodriguez, a young architect in Miami. "The truth is, I hope to be able to return soon."
A FUTURE IN OIL?
The thaw raises the possibility of Cuba getting its share of offshore oil in the Gulf of Mexico. There's real potential just off the island's northwest coast and Cubans desperate for economic growth welcome the opportunity, but analysts say a Cuban oil boom is unlikely anytime soon because of low oil prices and better drilling opportunities elsewhere.
A poll published Saturday shows Cuban-Americans almost evenly split on re-establishing US ties to Cuba: 48 percent disagree with Obama and 44 percent agree. It also shows wide divisions: U.S.-born Cubans strongly support Obama's plan, while those born on the island strongly oppose it. Cuban-Americans under 65 widely support it, while those over 65 strongly oppose. The phone survey of 400 Cuban-American adults, done Wednesday and Thursday by Bendixen & Amandi International for the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, has an error margin of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.