WICHITA, Kan. --- Former Wichita Mayor Carlos Mayans calls the president's Cuban actions "naïve."
"I think the president's actions are somewhat naive in the belief that if we buy cigars and rum from Cuba and provide them with cell phones that we're going to bring about economic development and bring about freedom for the people of Cuba."
Mayans came to the U.S. from Cuba when he was 13 years old. He says he still remembers what he calls the terrible atrocities in Cuba.
"I do remember Fidel Castro in 1961 taking all the agreements with America and tearing them up and throwing them out in the air and saying, 'I want the American imperialists to leave our island.'"
Mayans says Cuba has lost much of its support since the fall of the Soviet Union and from Venezuela also. He says, "I think that all that we have done, what the president has done, at this point, is extended the communist repressive regime a lifeline."
It's a lifeline he doesn't think the communist nation deserves. "Frankly I remember the firing squads on Sunday morning on television where they executed people for the country to see. And we had armed guards come to our home and try to knock our door down."
Before restoring ties to Cuba Mayans would like to see Cuba be accountable for their citizens human rights, political prisoners there freed and free elections held so Cubans can choose their own political affiliations.