Cuba preps for Pope Francis' historic trip

News 6 at 4:00p
News 6 at 4:00p

Cuba is preparing for a historic visit from the Pope. He touches down on Saturday and will bring with him-- hope.

Cubans and their relatives here in the United States hope that someday they can travel to each other's home without politics getting in the way. News 6's Sheli Muniz traveled to Cuba over the summer to bring you stories of how families and the country was preparing.

Cuba is home for Sara Garcia and her family. It is the only place she has ever known. Her mother lives in the United States, but Garcia cannot leave. The Cuban government has denied her three times and though her feet are forced to stay on Cuban soil, her aspirations surpass the island.

"I have hope that I can see my mother again," speaking only Spanish, Garcia told News 6's Sheli Muniz.

Her hope also lies in Pope Francis. He is the third pope to visit the community country.

"Your dream is not only to visit your family but also visit Las Vegas? Y porque?" asked Muniz.

Garcia responded she has seen its beauty on television. A trip to Las Vegas, however, won't come easy. In fact, she may never make it. On this day, Garcia's grandson, Edwin, is on the island from Pennsylvania.

"I believe it's about time for America and Cuba to start doing something," said Edwin.

"Everyone is hopeful, but not everyone is for reestablishing relations. There are people who refuse to come back here there are people that refuse to agree that we should have a relationship with Cuba because of the government that's in power. You feel that when you come here, you're not benefiting the government? You're benefiting your family?" asked Muniz.

"Yes," the family responded.

The Garcia family says they see their dollars progressing their family, not Castro's.

Others would disagree. Silvio Ortega, president of the Cuban Society in Orlando. "We lost everything in Cuba, we lost our freedom, we lost our democracy," said Ortega.

He is one of millions who has fled the country since Fidel Castro took power in the 1959 Cuban Revolution. While touting a drop in illiteracy and increase in public health, economic and political freedoms are essentially non-existent. Freedom of speech, there is none.

While working in Cuba, News 6 noticed that the older generation was more fearful othan the younger when talking about politics, even to American journalists.

The family jokingly said no one was monitoring them during our interview. They also said in the church courtyard, God was watching. It's the faith that's carried this family and carried through them to Garcia.

"Let's see now what the pope can do," said Garcia.

She is faithful that the pope's arrival to the country means her arriving closer to her dream, seeing her mother and that trip to Las Vegas.