Americans support closer Cuban ties

AMERICANS SUPPORT CLOSER CUBAN TIES…. Just yesterday, the Politico had an item questioning how President Obama has managed to get away with “brush[ing] aside 50 years of anti-communist orthodoxy by relaxing restrictions against Fidel Castro’s Cuba.” It might have something to do with the fact that the public agrees with him.

As President Barack Obama weighs the future of U.S.-Cuba relations, Americans continue to express support for closer ties. Since 1999, a majority of Americans have consistently said they favor re-establishing U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba — including 60% in a new Gallup Poll conducted after Obama’s decision last week to relax some restrictions.

A majority of poll respondents said the U.S. should end the trade embargo with Cuba, and an even larger majority support ending restrictions on travel to Cuba.

OK, but that’s the national public opinion landscape. What about the opinion of Cuban Americans? There’s evidence they support recent shifts in U.S. policy, too.

A majority of Cuban Americans support President Barack Obama and back his moves to improve relations with Cuba, according to a new poll that suggests the community’s staunch support for a tough U.S. stance against the Castro government may be eroding.

The survey said 64 percent of respondents favor Obama’s directive to lift all restrictions on remittances and visits by Cuban Americans to family in Cuba…. The telephone survey of 400 Cuban-American adults in Florida, New Jersey and other states was conducted in Spanish and English on April 15-16, days after Obama announced his administration would relax sanctions against Havana.

“Ten years ago, you wouldn’t have seen anything near these numbers. Now it’s the reality of where the community is,” said Fernand Amandi, a pollster with Miami’s Bendixen & Associates, a Democratic firm that did the survey. “It’s unprecedented to suggest that the community for the first time is aligned with a Democratic president when it comes to Cuba policy.”

U.S. leaders have been afraid to make some of these common-sense changes for quite some time. It’s not unreasonable to argue that we had to wait for a younger Cuban-American generation to come of age before shifting the policy, but either way, it’s encouraging to see Obama not only make the changes, but have these changes embraced by the public.

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