Local Cuban American reflects life in Cuba

Dr. Samuell spent five years in a Cuban prison for speaking out against the Cuban government.

HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Rafael Saumell, who grew up in Cuba and now lives in Huntsville, weighs in on President Trump’s decision Friday to restrict travel and trade with Cuba.

"[The Cuban Government] is one of the worst dictatorships in the world, “ Saumell said. “Comparable to what you know now as North Korea.”

In the current state of government, he agrees with President Trump's decision to restrict travel and trade with Cuba. It allows him to continue to communicate with his brother in Cuba while preventing the Cuban government from growing.

Under the current government in Cuba, he says the private companies do not benefit from the trade nearly much as the local government.

"The only people who need to be ashamed about Cuba would be the rulers,” Saumell said.

The only memories of Cuba remain in photos for Saumell.  But two photos of his two homes in Cuba are the only ones that are framed to help remind him of where he came from.

He was incarcerated for five years for creating literature that did not align with the Cuban Government. He decided to leave his home in Cuba after fears of being incarcerated a second time for talking to the American press about his experience in a Cuban jail.

When he arrived in the United States, those opportunities that were once restricted by the government were now free in the United States.

"I’ve had opportunities in this country that I didn't have in Cuba,” Saumell said.

He’s proud to be an American, but it didn't mean he forgot his past.

"That was where I was born,” Saumell said. “That was where I have my brother and sister. How could I not miss that? A government is a temporary fatality, the culture stays forever."

© 2017 KAGS-TV


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