Tags: Cuba | Cuba Lobby | influence | shifted

Cuba Lobby Now vs. Then: 5 Signs Influence Has Shifted in D.C.

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Nov 2015 04:28 PM

For decades, a strict policy against Cuba was the norm in Washington, D.C. This was due in part to what's called the Cuba Lobby, a group of Cuban exiles, their children, and others who oppose the regime of Fidel Castro, who took control of Cuba in 1959.

However, a new generation brings with it new ideas, and more than 50 years later, some in the United States are questioning the effectiveness of the embargo and other restrictions against the country. The Cuba Lobby's influence might be waning, as indicated by proposals to restore ties with the country.

The following moves show that the Cuba Lobby might no longer have the power it once did.

Vote Now: Should the US End the Embargo Against Cuba?

1. Changing of the Guard
After Cuba Lobby member Senator Ted Menendez stepped down from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was replaced by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), whose spokesman told Politico "Senator Cardin believes we should continue to push Cuba on their human rights record but the recent diplomatic changes are positive."

2. Easing of Travel Restrictions
For decades, Americans couldn't travel freely between the U.S. and Cuba. In January 2015, however, eight senators – Republican and Democrat – introduced a bill to end these travel restrictions. Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), introduced the bill, along with Senator Cardin, who replaced Cuba Lobby member Senator Menendez on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

3. Removing Cuba From the Terror List
When the President of the United States adopts a new position toward Cuba, it's a good sign that the prevailing hard-line stance against Fidel Castro's regime might be fading and that the Cuba Lobby's stance might no longer be the prevailing one. In April 2015, President Barack Obama announced his intention to remove Cuba from the federal government's list of nations considered to sponsor terrorism, as reported by Politico.

4. Formation of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba
Business and manufacturing companies are realizing that Cuba is an untapped market that could potentially be lucrative. As a result, some are organizing summits or establishing lobbying groups designed to influence Washington policy. In 2015, 30 of those organizations formed the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, which is calling for an immediate end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba, which has prohibited trade between the two countries, Politico said.

Tell Us: What Do You Think About the US Trade Embargo Against Cuba?

5. Openness Toward Talks With Cuba
The Cuba Lobby consists not only of politicians, but also special interest and lobbying groups. One of these, the Cuban American National Foundation, has historically had one of the strictest positions and had great influence over Washington politics, Politico noted. However, the group has been more open in recent years, with its current president Jose Hernandez, telling Politico: "We welcome opening talks with the Cuban government."

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For decades, a strict policy against Cuba was the norm in Washington, D.C. This was due in part to what's called the Cuba Lobby, a group of Cuban exiles, their children, and others who oppose the regime of Fidel Castro, who took control of Cuba in 1959.
Cuba Lobby, influence, shifted
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2015-28-17
Tuesday, 17 Nov 2015 04:28 PM
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