Miami-Dade (64%) favors normalizing US relations with Cuba

Dawn Gable

HAVANA TIMES — A poll released today by the widely respected Atlantic Council in Washington DC found that a whopping 64% of respondents in Miami-Dade  favor the US normalizing relations with Cuba, followed by 63% of Floridians and accompanied by 62% of Latinos and 56% of the national general public.

That may seem surprising when, for decades, the US embargo against Cuba has been maintained largely due to national candidates and parties fearing retaliation from the Cuban American hardliners in Miami-Dade County.

But according to the poll, conducted just last month, Florida and Miami are “now more willing than an already supportive country” to reengage with Cuba.

Conventional wisdom might tempt us to explain this shift by pointing to younger generations, but this poll does not support that notion, with responders over the age of 65 being slightly more willing to open relations with Cuba that younger respondents.

While the poll was somewhat predictable in terms of political party support for changing US policy, the divide associated with political affiliation was not as wide as one might expect. Over 50% of Republicans said they support normalization, while both Democrats and Independents weighed in at 60%.

Tourists in Havana.  Photo: Juan Suarez
Tourists in Havana. Photo: Juan Suarez

The poll was introduced by Senators Leahy and Flake, both long time promoters of ending the embargo, who also published an op-ed in the Miami Herald today titled Time for a new policy on Cuba.

This comes on the heels of a Senate delegation to Cuba consisting of Senators Sanders, Tester, and Heitkamp, after which Heitkamp said: “I think 55 years of this relationship is probably enough and it’s time to now transition to a different relationship.”

Joining the parade, Rep. Charles Rangel issued a press release yesterday calling “for the free exchange of people, goods and ideas between the US and Cuba.”

Quite a beginning of the week for the pro-engagement crowd after last week’s frenzy over Cuban sugar baron Alfy Fanjul coming out, in the Washington Post, against the embargo and Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist declaring on the Bill Maher show that the embargo has to go!

Crist will be on Stephen Colbert tonight, to keep the momentum of his campaign moving. Odds are he will mention this poll, especially after Paul Begala, political consultant and former advisor to President Clinton, told to the Atlantic Council audience that “as a strategist” he would tell a candidate that if pro-normalizationis your authentic position…you can win.”

 

13 thoughts on “Miami-Dade (64%) favors normalizing US relations with Cuba

  • Those polls are indicative of the general ignorance in the U.S. population of just what the embargo is intended to do .
    Were this group to understand the importance, the centrality of the set-in-rock foreign policy of making any socialist economy a failure , they’d know why the embargo must go on.
    Absent the economic damage from the embargo, Cuba’s socialist-style economy will easily outstrip any comparably resourced capitalist country such that it would provide the model for the rest of the Third World nations.
    To not understand that the embargo is a continuation of a 100-year old U.S. foreign policy imperative of putting down democratic economic systems that has succeeded in all but the case of Cuba, is to not understand history and, specifically, U.S. foreign policy history ..

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    • I see what you did there John. Well played.

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    • You have preached ad nauseum that there has never existed a ‘socialist’ economy, the least of which is what exists in Cuba. Yet now you comment “Cuba’s socialist-style economy will easily outstrip…”.

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      • Moses,
        When I wrote socialist-STYLE economy , it was to note that Cuba’s system cannot be called socialist but that it does contain some elements of socialism, mainly the equitable distribution of the available and necessary goods and services of a society.
        Absent a democratic, bottom-up governing form, the Cuban system cannot be called socialist or communist .
        It can be termed Marxist since Marx was hierarchical in his thinking. but not socialist and, by no means, communist.
        “Preaching ad nauseam” becomes a necessity when you choose to be willfully ignorant of past attempts to educate you as to what socialism, capitalism, democracy, communism and other very basic philosophies are and are not.
        As long as you post misinformation and disinformation ( as is more likely) , I will take the time to raise the intellectual and factual level of the debate.
        If you are not yet embarrassed at your posted ignorances, neither am I tired of pointing them out.
        Hey , there is a great article by Paul Street at ZNet today ( Thursday 2/13) on the wealth divide .

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        • …and we will continue to call you out on your lies JG, such as intentionally misquoting poverty and unemployment figures and NPR stories to suite your purposes

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    • ….and yet you make these claims of the success of this communist country without one shred of empirical data; absolutely evidence! On the contrary I can show you everywhere its has failed. ….Even China gave it up.

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      • IC,
        Cuba ranks inordinately high on the U.N.’s World Health Organization’s (W.H.O.) Human Development Index which deals with the level of health , education and welfare in the countries of the world.
        Cuba alone in Latin America has no childhood malnutrition .
        Cuba has no serious drug problem or drug trafficking problem .
        Cuba has a low crime rate and you can walk the streets of Havana at night without fear .
        You want to rate success by how many millionaires a society has rather than how the majority of the people are doing.
        Cuba is not a communist country .
        It is a country that has a state-run economy and government and therefore it cannot be called communist.

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        • WHO & UNESCO statistics on Cuba come straight from the Castro regime propaganda mill. They do not allow any independent groups to collect their own data on Cuban social or economic conditions.

          Your “facts” are worthless.

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        • Question: You would like me to accept at face value the data provided by Communist Cuba…the same country that has a history of fudging and hiding data….the same country that hid military equipment under 10 tons of sugar to send illegally to Communist North Korea and then lied about it?

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        • ….oh and I forgot to mention. Cuba jails Doctors for publishing data it finds embarrassing and obfuscated, until called out, cholera outbreaks throughout the island. And you want us to believe their data?

          Perhapse you should visit the CDC / health information / travelers / Cuba to see the dangers of visiting your communist island paradise.

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  • The fact is that once pro-embargo forces began to tell the now daily stories of dissident beatings and arrests and began the campaign to explain the role a US-funded Cuba would serve in fomenting anti-US activism around the world, these poll numbers would change dramatically towards maintaining the status quo. Most Americans know very little about Cuba, even less about the tyranny of the Castro regime.

    Reply
    • Yeah sure Moses,
      If the American people only knew what YOU know about how Cuba is responsible for people all over the world thinking badly about the foreign policies of the government of the United States.
      Most Americans can’t find Cuba on a map with the names of the countries on it, nor like you , do they have anything but a State Department-scripted view of Cuba’s revolution.
      Your rhetoric might well be taken from :
      1) the old-guard Miami crazies
      2) the State Department
      3) Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity
      4) the corporate media .in general.
      IMO , if you were to ask Americans whether they thought the GOUSA had a right to tell another country what kind of economy and government they could have OR whether they thought it would be OK for another country like China to tell us what we can and cannot do with our own country , you’d get quite a different answer than the one you’d like.
      When polled, the U..S. public is clearly shown to be way left of the government .
      You REALLY have to step outside your far-right and anti-intellectual box and get a grasp of reality.

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  • The Atlantic Council poll is an example of a sophisticated agenda driven public relations job masquerading as on opinion poll. The preamble to the survey report thanks unnamed “Cuba experts” for their input. Who are these alleged Cuba experts? There are a number of oft quoted Cuba experts who turn out to be academic mouthpieces of the Castro regime. We deserve to know who the Atlantic Council consulted for designing their poll, but they do not provide that information.

    Typical of agenda polling, the manner in which the questions are asked and the context in which the answers are given reveal the bias. Just one of the more obvious examples in this poll:

    After the initial question about whether Cuba belonged on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List respondents were provided additional information: “Thousands of Al Qaeda terrorists are in Sudan or Syria, and Iran has been aggressively building it’s nuclear program. Despite human rights abuses, Cuba poses none of the active dangers to the United States and our security that these other countries possess.” The same question was then asked… but with a dramatic shift in those who believe that Cuba does not pose the same threat as the other nations on the list. An important takeaway is the tendency to be in favor of changing policy with even more information on the topic.” p 19.

    The “additional information” the Atlantic Council provided about Cuba’s relationship with terrorism & Cuba is incomplete, misleading and lacking in proper context. Nobody alleges Al Qaeda is active in Cuba. But the Shia terrorist group, Hezbollah does have an office in Cuba. Why? Cuba has provided support in money, training & weapons to other Middle Eastern terrorist organizations, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

    The “additional information” failed to explain the nature of Cuba’s close diplomatic relationship with Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Gadaffi’s Libya. Cuba’s long-standing support for the Colombian narco-terrorist group FARC was not mentioned, nor was the fact that the legendary terrorist, Carlos the Jackal was trained in Cuba mentioned. These and dozens of other documented cases of Cuban support for terrorist organization could were left out of the “additional information” provided in the poll. Why? Also not mentioned in the “additional information” was the recent incident in which a North Korean freighter was stopped in Panama and found to contain an illegal cargo of banned military hardware hidden under sacks of Cuban sugar. Clearly, the authors of Atlantic Council survey knew perfectly well that if the American people really were better informed about Cuba, they would understand why Cuba is correctly designated as a state-supporter of terrorism.

    From this example, and there are others just as manipulative, it is clear that the survey by the Atlantic Council was designed not to collect accurate information about American opinions of US-Cuba policy, but to misinform the US public and promote an activist anti-embargo agenda.

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/US-CubaPollFinalEmbargo.pdf

    Reply

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