Poll: Miami Cubans Want Sanctions on Communist Island Lifted

Tuesday, 17 Jun 2014 01:26 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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A majority of Cuban Americans in Miami-Dade County, Florida, want the trade embargo and travel restrictions with Cuba lifted, and they favor full diplomatic ties with the communist island nation, a new poll reveals, according to the Miami Herald.

The survey by Florida International University of 1,000 Miami-Dade Cubans showed that 52 percent oppose the embargo, while 48 percent favor it. Just three years ago, 56 percent supported the trade sanctions in an FIU poll, while 87 percent supported the embargo in the first such survey in 1991.

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Seventy percent of the people surveyed called for an end to the travel ban, while 71 percent approved of "people to people" travel by non-Cuban Americans, the Herald said.

In the 11 surveys conducted by FIU’s Cuba Research Institute, the results have indicated a trend showing younger U.S.-born Cubans back improved relations with the island, while older Cubans and exiles still want tough sanctions.

The researchers noted that the findings "highlight an important transition taking place in the Miami area, a demographic, generational, and ideological shift that can potentially have a great impact."

The poll also showed most of those surveyed hope that the United States would allow increased economic dealings with Cuba in the hope that Cuban Americans could actually invest there, according to the Herald. The research revealed that 48 percent of Cubans in Miami send cash to the island.

More than half of the registered Cuban voters in Miami-Dade, 53 percent, said they would back candidates who support full diplomatic relations with Havana, while 57 percent said they would favor candidates who would replace the embargo with some form of private economic arrangement.

However, in a strange contradiction, 63 percent said they would keep Cuba on the U.S. list of countries that support international terrorism.

Also, Cuban Americans remain dubious about the potential for political and economic changes under President Raúl Castro, who took over power after his brother Fidel Castro underwent surgery in 2006, the Herald said.

The poll was released Tuesday soon after Cuban exile Joe Arriola, the former manager of the city of Miami, said that after 53 years living in the United States he now believes that the federal policy of trying to isolate Cuba has failed.

Arriola, 67, who visited the island for a week last year, said, "The No. 1 weapon we have is capitalism, and we are not using it. We should be flooding the place with tourists and commerce.

"Our president has not had the guts to do the right thing," said Arriola, who helped raise funds for President Barack Obama's campaign and whose son, Ricky, sits on the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

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