Cuban opposition groups protest bilateral talks with US

World Today

In this Dec. 19, 2014 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington to talk about successes in 2014, citing lower unemployment, a rising number of Americans covered by health insurance, and an historic diplomatic opening with Cuba. Photo: AP

Cuban opposition group leaders and demonstrators held a vigil in Florida on Thursday to protest against historic talks between the governments of Havana and Washington.

The gathering at Tamiami park in Miami drew dozens of people, largely older Cuban exiles, who are concerned about the blossoming relations between the two countries.

“I think it’s a sign of the disparate U.S. diplomacy, thinking that you can negotiate with a regime, a military dictatorship that has been in power for 56 years. It’s very unfortunate. It seems incredible that (the U.S.) has offered everything in exchange for nothing,” Ninoska Perez, an opposition radio talk show host, said.

Miami is no stranger to demonstrations against the Castro regime.

Of the estimated 2 million Cubans living in the United States, the majority live in South Florida and many remain closely attuned to developments on the island. But recent polls suggest a large divide between younger and older Cuban-Americans.

Those born in the U.S. strongly support President Barack Obama’s plan while those born in Cuba strongly opposed it.

“Ideally we want relations with Cuba but we want the dissidents in Cuba, the people who are standing up for human rights in Cuba, to be able to speak freely for all Cubans,” said Cuban exile David Acosta.

Meanwhile in Havana, American and Cuban delegates closed two days of talks, saying some progress had been made to restore diplomatic relations after a half-century of grievances.

This story is compiled with information from The Associated Press.