TAMPA — In 2014, facing persecution by the Cuban governing administration, Herminio Pena Otero decided to depart his loved ones in Cuba and commence a new daily life in Florida.
He tried using to get the Cuban governing administration to approve visas for his daughter and stage-daughter to arrive to Florida for decades. But, each individual attempt was met with rejection. The communist regime is hesitant to reward a father that wrote articles or blog posts vital of socialism and tyranny.
It would just take two decades for Otero to lastly see his daughter yet again. When he hugged her outside the house the arrivals terminal at Tampa Global Airport, he stated it felt like a aspiration.
“When I noticed my daughter here, it was a person of the greatest times in my lifetime. I hold my daughter once again,” Otero stated.
ABC Action Information reporter Michael Paluska very first interviewed Otero in April 2016, two months just before touring to Cuba to report on the to start with American cruise ship to get there in Havana in a long time.
For the duration of that initial job interview with Otero, he recorded a online video message with his former spouse, Aida Sanchez. A heartfelt concept to their kids trapped on the island. Otero drew us a map on a piece of paper displaying where his house was in Pinar Del Rio, and that was all we had to track the girls down. At last, following lots of wrong turns and a minimal luck, we observed the relatives and ended up capable to convey to their story.
Subsequent our special report on family members torn apart by Cuban oppression, former Congressman David Jolly stepped in to enable unite Otero with his daughter Amanda Beatriz.
“It was really fascinating lead to following like two years. I was lastly likely to see my father. I was quite anxious. I was just ready for the minute to hug him, and it was very exciting,” Beatriz explained.
Aug. 18, 2016, at Tampa International Airport, we watched the uncooked emotion and tears of a daughter reuniting with her father. Beatriz did not make the journey from Cuba to Florida alone. Her action-sister at the time, Aida Daniela Sanchez, was with her. Aida was comprehensive of tears and smiles as she saw her mother at the airport. Father and daughter, and mom and daughter together soon after two decades of waiting and wanting to know if the day would ever come.
With protests taking place throughout Cuba, Otero feels grateful he manufactured it out but unfortunate knowing his good friends and family are trapped on the island. His mom, Vivien Juana Otero-Hernandez, 75, stays inside of her residence, afraid to depart because of the danger of contracting COVID-19 and attacks by the police.
“The authorities eliminate the people today and arrest people today for only wondering unique,” Otero stated. “Almost nothing transform in Cuba, and the people today say it is adequate. The govt in Cuba is plenty of. I want liberty, freedom, no food items, no medicine. I am in the procedure to choose my mother to appear listed here to reside with us, and my mom is fearful. She saw people arrested, and the police strike the individuals extremely challenging, and she observed the blood.”
Since the U.S. Embassy in Havana is closed, Otero reported no a single could system her visa to carry her to Florida. So until eventually the unrest settles, he won’t know when he could possibly see her yet again.
“We have a future below. In Cuba, the folks will not have a potential you coming below, and you fight lead to you want some thing in your lifetime, and in Cuba, that 1 is not possible. We coming in this article, we see a future for us, and our family members we want that for the Cuban persons have a long term have flexibility,” Otero mentioned.
His message to President Joe Biden is crystal clear, send enable to liberate the individuals. But, the problem as we documented previous 7 days is sophisticated.
“The only way Cuba can adjust is with army intervention. It can be the only way,” Otero stated. “Since Cuban people today will not have the way. They do not have nearly anything to fight with the authorities. This is the time to say no much more. The individuals are no cost in thoughts that is brand new now. They say I can do it. They are not scared any longer. The flexibility is incredibly shut, quite close correct now, but a handful of men and women want to push that independence.”