Majority of Cubans in Miami say embargo hasn’t worked

  The majority of Cuban-Americans living in Miami are in favor of some changes in U.S. relations with Cuba, according to a poll released by…
Majority of Cubans in Miami say embargo hasn’t worked

For years, the mere act of buying and bringing in Cuban cigars into the U.S. has been a crime, but younger Cuban Americans are softening their stance on the embargo. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano)

The majority of Cuban-Americans living in Miami are in favor of some changes in U.S. relations with Cuba, according to a poll released by Florida International University (FIU).

Most respondents of the 2014 FIU Cuba Poll expressed strong support for increased contact between U.S. citizens, including Cuban-Americans, and the Cuban people. A large majority – 68 percent – favors re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, while 69 percent supports the lifting of travel restrictions.

“We are witnessing a clear demographic shift with younger and more recently arrived Cubans favoring a change in policy toward the island,” said Professor Guillermo J. Grenier, one of the co-principal investigators of the FIU Cuba Poll, which has been conducted every few years since 1991.

Among all respondents, 52 percent oppose continuing the embargo. Among registered voters, 51 percent favor continuing the embargo. Support for continuing the embargo is strongest among Republican registered voters. In 1991 overall support for the embargo was at 87 percent, stated the release of FIU.

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Since 1959, when Fidel Castro’s regime took power in Cuba, Miami-Dade County in South Florida has become home to almost 900,000 Cuban exiles and their American-born children. The earliest wave of exiles traditionally registered as Republican and are strong supporters of the U.S. embargo. Currently, seven members of Congress are Cuban-American; four of them are Republicans.

The 2014 Cuba Poll surveyed 1,000 randomly selected Cuban-Americans living in Miami-Dade County. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent. Other key results from the FIU Cuba Poll include:

  • 63 percent of Cuban Americans believe that Cuba should remain on the State Department’s list of countries designated as sponsors of terrorism. The other countries on that list are Iran, Sudan and Syria.
  • 81 percent of registered voters would likely vote for a candidate who supports replacing the embargo with a policy that increases support for human rights in Cuba.
  • 45 percent of registered voters said they voted for Mitt Romney, while 34 percent voted for Barack Obama in the presidential elections of 2012.

The practical implications of Cuban-American public opinion will be the topic of a roundtable discussion on Thursday at the Hall of the States Building in Washington D.C. The discussion will feature FIU Professors Guillermo J. Grenier and Hugh Gladwin, who co-authored the poll, as well as Professor of Government at American University, William LeoGrande, and  Director of Hispanic Research at Pew Research Center Mark Lopez.

SEE ALSO: Tensions with USAID’s efforts in Cuba