Giancarlo Sopo’s commentary on public affairs issues has been featured in some of the world’s leading publications.
“When Cuban-Americans think about Cuba, it’s important that they have a tangible relationship with the island and its people,” said Giancarlo Sopo, one of the founders. “There is much more to that country than a pair of brothers; there are 11 million people with dreams and aspirations.”
Mr. Sopo’s late father, a veteran of the Bay of Pigs, the failed 1961 invasion, refused to return to Cuba. Mr. Sopo, who was born in Miami, went once as a child, to see a dying relative. Inspired by the thaw between the two governments, he flew to Cuba last year for the first time as an adult.
“One of the things that struck me the most was the disconnect,” he said. “I wanted to find a way to bridge that disconnect, bridge misunderstandings.”
At a meeting at The White House in the final days of the Obama Administration, a senior adviser to the 44th president shared a remarkable observation: members of the incoming Republican administration believed that Donald Trump won Florida’s 29 electoral votes because of his 180° turn on U.S.-Cuba policy. Apparently, even President Trump believes it. Problem is: it isn’t true. Not even close.
“Despite claims that Obama’s Cuba policy hurt Clinton, the data shows no evidence that Cuba policy played a pivotal role in the election results,” said Giancarlo Sopo, a Democratic strategist and an advocate of lifting the embargo, who conducted the analysis with Guillermo Grenier, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Florida International University.
Co-founder and spokesperson Giancarlo Sopo, 33, says the organization is rooted in personal stories. The son of a veteran of the Bay of Pigs invasion, Sopo is all too familiar with the fascination and mystery surrounding Cuba.
“Everyone always talks about Cuba, but they’ve never been there,” said Sopo. The four founders, who have put nearly $100,000 of their own money to fund the trips, believe that Cuba should be more than just black-and-white photos for this and future generations.
The idea for CubaOne was born late last year. In July, 33-year-old Giancarlo Sopo, a Miami-based publicist, made his first trip to Cuba to visit family. Like many Miami Cubans, Sopo grew up very aware of his family’s history on the island. His grandfather was a poet, psychiatrist and Cuban Navy officer who died in Havana in 1959, perhaps at the hands of Che Guevara. Sopo’s late father was thrown in jail and later traveled to Miami, where he became a member of the Bay of Pigs invasion brigade. He never traveled back to Cuba. His mom came to Miami in the 70s. Despite the family’s history, when Sopo heard Obama’s announcement on December 17, 2014, he immediately wanted to travel to Cuba.
“For my generation of Cuban-Americans, patriotism means going to Cuba and directly engaging the Cuban people and supporting their aspirations to build a better country and a brighter future for its people,” Sopo said. “There’s only so much you can do from Miami.”
For decades, some Cuban exiles have felt disdain at the thought of visiting their home island. That’s meant some Cuban Americans have only stories, or maybe a few photos or keepsakes, from their families’ native land. But now, four children of exiles are trying to help young Cuban Americans form their own memories of Cuba.
The CubaOne Foundation is setting up four free trips of 10 people each for Cuban Americans between 22 and 35 years old. It’s the brainchild of Daniel Jimenez, Giancarlo Sopo, Cherie Cancio and Andrew Jimenez. The Miami-area young professionals modeled their program after Birthright Israel, which offers free trips for young Jews to learn about Israeli culture and make connections with other Jews.
Más de 400 jóvenes de origen cubano se han inscrito como candidatos para los viajes gratuitos a Cuba que la fundación CubaOne de Miami va a ofrecer con el fin de que puedan conocer sus raíces y “conectarse” con sus coetáneos de la isla.
Giancarlo Sopo, uno de los cuatro fundadores de CubaOne, dijo hoy a Efe que la idea de crear esta fundación que acaban de presentar en sociedad surgió tras constatar “lo desconectados” que están los jóvenes cubanos que viven fuera de la isla de los que están dentro y los diferentes que son sus percepciones sobre muchas cosas.
These four millennials are buying their peers tickets to Cuba.