Former Wichita Mayor reacts to U.S., Cuba plan to restore relationship

WICHITA, Kansas – Business with Cuba could soon resume, after five decades of an economic embargo by the United States.

Today, President Obama announced he is sending an ambassador to Cuba and taking other steps to normalize relations, including trade and travel.

In return, Cuban President, Raul Castro, has agreed to more open phone and internet communication for his citizens.

The announcement hits close to home for former Wichita Mayor Carlos Mayans.

Mayans emigrated to the U.S. from Havana in 1962, at the age of 13.

He still has vivid memories of his experience.

“I came here with two change of clothes and one pair of shoes,” said Mayans.

Mayans says the announcement is positive for many Cubans currently living in the U.S.

“Cubans that live in America for the most part, some are somewhat hopeful they can see more of their relatives,” said Mayans.

However, Mayans is apprehensive and cautious about the news.

He feels their are still a lot of questions that remain.

“I didn’t hear the president say I’m going to hold the Castro brothers accountable, responsible and accountable, that if we give them this assistance how they are going to help the Cuban people bring about political changes,” said Mayans.

Mayans added he believes negotiations between both the U.S. and Cuba need to continue to benefit the Cuban residents.

“Negotiate the incentives under which we are going to open up our markets and our economic assistance as a trade for you bringing more freedom to the Cuban people,” said Mayans.

KSN also asked Mayans about how tourism could be beneficial if and when the U.S. and Cuba restore their relationship.

Mayans says he the Cuban Government would see additional revenue coming in, but worries whether the Cuban people will be allowed to reap the benefits of more tourism there.

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