HOUSTON - While Cuba mourns it's longtime dictator Fidel Castro, here in the U.S. the focus is shifting towards the future and what happens next.
"This is an opportunity to turn the page and start a new chapter and write a new story," said Mustafa Tameez.
Tameez is on the Texas State Council-Engage Cuba, a group lobbying the government to ease restrictions and open up Cuba for business. He says Texas could lead the way.
"Houston is a gateway to Latin America, so partnering for trade with Cuba is an important part of how we develop these two economies," said Tameez.
Tameez was one of several community leaders who's traveled to Cuba this year. He says the Cuban people are ready to do business with the United States and specifically Texas.
Commercial flights from the U.S. to Cuba started Monday in Miami and New York. United Airlines' nonstop flights from Houston take off Saturday. And business leaders say the Port of Houston offers even more opportunities to do business with the island nation. Congressman Ted Poe doesn't want to turn back now.
"How can we ignore a country that is 90 miles away from us," said Poe. "It's an absurd philosophy that hasn't worked."
But with President Obama on his way out and President-elect Trump on his way in, uncertainty clouds the future of U.S-Cuba relations. Trump's tweet this morning where he threatened to terminate the deal isn't helping.
"When President-elect Trump sees the reality of the importance for America to trade with Cuba he will back off some of the things he has said about Cuba recently," said Poe.
Congressman Poe is optimistic about the future of Texas trade with Cuba and so are business leaders, but they're watching and waiting to see what a Trump administration does.
"There's still a lot that has to be worked out," said Tameez. "Key players haven't been appointed yet."