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Cubans in Acadiana react to Trump's Cuba policy change - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Cubans in Acadiana react to Trump's Cuba policy change

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If you want to travel to Cuba, President Trump's new policy may affect you. The new guidelines will prohibit trade and investments with businesses that are run by the Cuban military.

President Trump has criticized what he calls a "one-sided deal" that Barack Obama made in 2015 and aims to completely reverse it.

However, according the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Trump's proposed changes US residents can still travel to the island via airlines and cruise ships. The goal of the regulations is to ensure the money spent goes straight to the Cuban people not the Cuban government. This means staying at an Air BnB instead of hotels owned by Grupo Gaesa, a Cuban military-owned company.

Fernando Perez-Viart, the President of the Louisiana Cuban's Club here in Acadiana, grew up in Avila, Cuba, where he made the equivalent of about $26 a month as a doctor.

 "The life in Cuba, when you grow up, I grew up poor without knowing that I was poor...I lived all my life in the middle of the process of the revolution," Perez- Viart said in his native Spanish tongue.

Perez- Viart won a lottery for a visa to live in the United States in 2000. His family came first in 2002, then six years later, he was able to leave the country and reunite with his wife and kids. Today, he sends remisas, a part of his monthly income back to his family in Cuba.

"Cuba is a poor country, and in reality the limitations are huge, from my opinion," said Perez-Viart. "I came looking for liberty, I have now found that liberty, and above all things, I came looking for the opportunity to be able to help my family that I had to leave behind because they didn't have the same opportunities as me."

He supports the controversial decision to keep an open relationship with Cuba.

"Many Cuban-Americans think that  the president is going to reverse the measures that President Obama took, I don't see it like that. I see more that, the president is focusing on helping the Cuban families because that is what the real necessities of Cuba are.. and I fully support the Cuba- US relationship," said Perez-Viart.

This is something his business partner agrees with.

"I do like to see Louisiana move forward in dealing with Cuba because of the proximity, similar type of food, similar type of climate," said Harold Lewis Jr., the owner of Black Star International, an export company.

And coming out of Father's Day weekend, Perez-Viart has one thing to say to his two children who grew up in this country.

"We owe everything to this country, this opportunity, we owe our loyalty to this country. Now I hope that they always trace their roots to their parents and grandparents. That they always look for the capacity to help their family and others who are less fortunate than them," said Perez- Viart. "That for me is the best advice I can give."

There is no set date for when the changes will be put into place in the coming months.

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