This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Some Utahns who fled Cuba decades ago cheered the Wednesday announcement of renewed ties between the U.S. and the island nation, while others seethed at the new relationship.
Andres Rosenada, a Cuban who fled Communism 13 years ago and now lives in Utah, said he's infuriated with President Barack Obama's decision to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and allow some previously banned travel and trade.
"We are doing a big favor to a dictator and murderer, which Raul Castro is. This is stabbing the hope of the Cuban people," said Rosenada, who is part of a small Cuban community in Utah, estimated at just 2,300 people by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Adalberto Diaz Labrada, who runs the Salt Lake City bakery Fillings and Emulsions, disagreed.
"I'm excited. I think it's a great thing," said Labrada, who left Havana 14 years ago, when he was 28. "It's going to help the people on the island. It's going to help the families here."
Labrada expects the action to invigorate Cuba's economy, attract investors and improve life for his relatives who are still there, he said. "I think that's going to make it so people don't want to leave," he added. "I see a huge potential for everyone."
Labrada's mother, who emigrated from Cuba in 2010, now lives in Tennessee with one of his brothers. His two other brothers live in Miami, but he had yet to speak with any of his siblings as of Wednesday afternoon.
"I'm sure I'm going to hear the negative side" from others on Facebook, he said.
Speaking on a brief break from his job as an anesthesiology technician at the University of Utah on Wednesday, Rosenada fumed.
"This is an oppressive government that kills people. It is corrupt and there is no reason to do this," said Rosenada, who is also a former trustee of Catholic Community Services in Utah. "I would like to force the Cuban government to change its politics first, and get Raul Castro in jail."
He added: "Thousands of Cubans want change. The only thing that is going to change with this is the bank accounts of Raul Castro and his friends."