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Cuban Native Valley Resident Doubts New Leadership in Cuba

2 years 7 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, April 18 2018 Apr 18, 2018 April 18, 2018 5:57 PM April 18, 2018 in News

MCALLEN - A Rio Grande Valley business owner, who is also a Cuba native, says he has doubts about new leadership in Cuba.

Cuba will have a new leader on Thursday as Raul Castro’s reign comes to an end. 

Many Valley families have ties to the country that sits just hours across the Gulf of Mexico. A local business owner is doubtful a difference will be made.

The fancy cars and tourist lifestyle in Cuba are not what Orlando Perez went through a child. 

"You live according to what the government says; you do what the government says, you eat what the government says. You take what the government gives ya,” says Perez. 

Perez left Cuba at about nine years old. Perez says the streets he grew up on in Havana were not classified as a family vacation.

"When you go back in time and you remember as a child; dad can we go back to the grocery store? no hun, no son, because they took it,” says Perez. 

The government forced his family to leave Cuba. They waited to come to the U.S. legally.

Perez now owns a dance studio in McAllen. It's a way to express his native land heritage in his new home.

"The dancing comes from my bloodstream. I'm from the Caribbean. In my blood there's that drumbeat,” says Perez.

Perez explains the sound of new leadership will not better the country.

"You wanted to talk about Cuban elections. I said that's a joke… They probably groomed somebody from a farm and that little puppet has been groomed and that little puppet is going to be told you're going to stand there and you're going to follow the system,” says Perez.

The Cuban government is calling their current vice president as the sole candidate for the job.

Perez says he’ll need verification of a new Cuba... 

"That you or I, especially me, can go visit Cuba in 30 days and I could stand in front of where I used to live and say ‘Oh my lord this has been torn down, what the heck happened here?’ And not go to jail. Guess what, some change has taken place,” said Perez.

He's doubtful a new face will turn his home country free.

The current leader, 86-year-old Raul Castro, is not going away completely.

He will stay as the head of the communist party.

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