TAMPA, Fla. - President Joe Biden's plan to lift restrictions on Cuba is facing backlash from some on both sides of the aisle. The administration said the policy changes – which expand flights and remove a cap on how much money can be sent to Cuba – are aimed at supporting Cuban people.
But some Cuban Americans argue the regime can't be trusted and worry the money will land in the hands of the Cuban government
"It will be more money in the regime's pocket, and it won't be more money in the regime's pocket that is going to be reinvested towards the betterment of the Cuban people," Cuban Freedom March Executive Director Alian Collazo said.
As part of the changes, the Biden Administration will now allow flights to go beyond Havana. The administration is also lifting the family remittance cap of $1,000 per quarter, which is money sent from Cuban Americans to their families in Cuba. It's a process overseen by the regime.
Collazo, who is organizing Saturday's Cuban Freedom March in New York City, said those payments don't help Cubans.
"Any dollar or hard currency that they get is to fortify the security services that they have, which in the sense you're fortifying the repressive manner in which the Cuban people are dealt with," Collazo said.
Gov. Ron DeSantis unleashed swift criticism against the Biden's administrations policy changes at a news conference Tuesday.
"It's a slap in the face to everyone in South Florida that has experience dealing with these Marxist dictators in our hemisphere," DeSantis said.
Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings from Orlando also spoke out about the changes.
"I am encouraged by policies that will reunite families and raise the cap on family remittances, but allowing investments in the Cuban private sector and easing travel restrictions will only serve to fund the corrupt dictatorship," Demings said in a statement released Tuesday.
Collazo feels the administration failed to include Cuban Americans in the discussion.
"We're not against families reconnecting and being with each other," Collazo said. "What we are against and what the broad Cuban American community is against is this idea that we were not consulted."
He said the inclusion of Cuban Americans in policy discussions is a must to better for the lives of Cubans.
"Bring to the table real solutions that can get information into the hands of the Cuban people, whether it be Internet, whether it be connectivity, whether it be other things, you know, real resources that can continue to spur, you know, the interest for freedom," Collazo said.