BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A coast doctor is getting ready to make a third trip to the island nation of Cuba. This is after relations between that country and the United States were somewhat normalized by former president Barack Obama.
Dr. Michael Diaz has a two-fold purpose on this third trip. Reason number one.
"I have invited Fidel Castro's former personal physician to come back and talk to Louisiana State University's medical center. We're going to go down there this trip and talk to him about the details," Diaz explained.
Reason number two: He is traveling with a large cache of medical supplies.
"Medicine in Cuba is fantastic. The problem is they don't have a lot of resources. So, anything that I can do to benefit them, to give them the resources that they need. To practice the medicine is very rewarding," said Diaz.
On a previous trip, the doctor reunited with long forgotten relatives, even seeing the house that belonged to his ancestors. His emotions came back thinking about it.
"When a family breaks apart and has no communication for 50 of 60 years and then to finally reunite with them, I was speechless when it happened. It's a very emotional time," Diaz recalled.
While Cuba is still a communist country, Diaz was never anxious about security.
"Never felt that safety was an issue. I felt very safe the entire time I was there. The Cubans are very warm. They are very open. Safety was never a concern."
As for the future of the still developing relationship between Cuba and the United States, Diaz offered this advice.
"I just hope that the politicians here in the United States will keep politics out of this, and they will look at the Cuban people and who they are and what they stand for."
Diaz and the rest of his traveling companions, including Biloxi Mayor FoFo Gilich, leave for Cuba on Wednesday and return on Sunday.