Tags: Cuba | Cuba Lobby | influence | Washington

Cuba Lobby Changes: How the Influence in Washington has Changed in Time

By    |   Monday, 16 November 2015 01:00 AM

For several decades, what's often referred to as the Cuba Lobby was a powerful force in Washington politics. It's not an official moniker, but one used to refer to a loosely connected group of Cuban exiles and their descendents who influence decision-making in Washington, D.C., especially as it relates to the United States government's policies toward Cuba.

Some members of the Cuba Lobby hold high-ranking elected positions in government at both the state and federal levels. It was partly their influence that ensured the more than 50-year embargo against Cuba remained in place. In recent years, however, public sentiment toward Cuba has shifted slightly, followed by a more open position toward the country from the White House and some lawmakers.

In a commentary for The Huffington Post titled
, "Wait, Wait, Let Me Guess What Comes Next," Latin America expert Christopher Sabatini noted the waning influence of the Cuba Lobby, referring to "the dwindling number of groups that advocate for the embargo."

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

Sabatini, the former editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly and former senior director of policy at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, wrote in another commentary, this one for Foreign Policy, that opinion was shifting in several spheres. In his piece, "The Anti-Cuba Lobby Has Jumped the Shark," Sabatini wrote "in the past month, former diplomats and administration officials, business leaders, public intellectuals, and even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have raised questions about the effectiveness of the U.S.'s half-century-old embargo on Cuba."

Some of these lawmakers have even taken steps to ease restrictions on the Communist country. In January 2015, eight senators from both parties authored a bill to end the restrictions on travel between the United States and Cuba, Politico reported.

Questioning the efficacy of the hard-line stance toward Cuba is nothing new. In 2000, The New York Times explored the issue in its article "Cuban American Lobby on the Defensive." The article quoted Max Castro, a sociologist at the University of Miami's North-South Center, as saying "Americans have basically said it's a policy that hasn't worked, and it's inconsistent with the rest of our foreign policy."

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For several decades, what's often referred to as the Cuba Lobby was a powerful force in Washington politics.
Cuba Lobby, influence, Washington
Monday, 16 November 2015 01:00 AM
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