In 2015, the U.S.-Cuban relationship began to thaw with renewed diplomacy and the opening of embassies, spawning interest from American citizens to venture to the island. As a result, a new generation of Cuban-Americans seek to re-connect with the island that their elders fled from long ago.
The average Cuban-American traveling back to the country is 25, and work as creatives, artists, and writers. They are the sons and daughters and grandchildren of a powerful Cuban community in the States who have strongly adhered to anti-Castro sentiment.
Miranda Hernandez, a second generation Cuban immigrant, visited Havana for one week, with starkly different impressions of the island than her family. “Right off the bat I’m going to say honestly it’s not that bad. A lot of people perceive Cuba as a terrible place where people aren’t happy, but that’s not the case,” she told the Washington Post.
CubaOne was the program that allowed Hernadez to explore the Caribbean nation, a program that was influenced by Birthright Israel, and aims to “political normalcy” after the softening of relations between the island and the United States:
“The declaration of U.S. detente with Cuba was made possible by the softening of a hard line held for half a century by Florida’s powerful Cuban-American community. Expectations of a fearsome backlash to follow any outreach to Cuba diminished as the first generations of Cuban-American exiles were joined by new waves of economic migrants, and by children and grandchildren who never directly experienced communism.”
The initial break between the United States and Cuba occurred with the island’s revolution in 1959. The US embargo and Bay of Pigs invasion afterwards solidified decades of distrust between the two countries. Obama has