How do Cuban-Americans in Miami View US Policies toward Cuba?

By Dawn Gable

Daybreak in Havana. Photo: Juan Suarez
Daybreak in Havana. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — Professors Guillermo Grenier and Hugh Gladwin of Florida International University set out to answer that question once again in the newest edition of the unique survey they have periodically conducted over the past 20 years, involving 1000 Cuban Americans in Miami-Dade county famous for its hardline stance against Cuba’s government, intolerance of reasonable voices, and open arms to terrorists “for the cause”.

This issue confirms a continuing trend toward moderation among the target population and an expected gap in opinion between the newcomers (arriving after 1994), young adults (18-29 years), and second-generation Cuban-Americans, and the traditional “exiles.”

This trend has reached a tipping point making the county’s representatives in the nation’s capital out of sync with their constituents, with the exception of Rep. Garcia (D) – to a certain degree.

The overall findings were:

  All Respondents Young adults Newcomers
For ending the embargo: 52% 62% 58%
For diplomatic relations: 68% 90% 80%
For freedom to travel: 69% 89% 80%

Most importantly, the poll lays bare the need for Cuban Americans under 30 years old, as well as those arriving in the past two decades, to get registered and to participate in the election process in order to make these numbers meaningful.

Consider the poll’s findings that:

  • Registered voters are split on the embargo question, while young adults clearly oppose it.
  • 83% of those NOT registered to vote want renewed diplomatic ties, compared to 55% of registered voters.
  • While 58% of registered voters support everyone’s right to travel to Cuba, it is a far cry from the 89% of young Cuban Americans who oppose the travel ban.

The consequences of the low rate of voter registration among younger Cuban Americans is also pronounced in the case of Cuba’s inclusion on the U.S. State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, which entails a second layer of sanctions against Cuba: 65% of young adults polled think Cuba should be taken off of the list, but only 30% of responding registered voters agree.

Morning in  Havana.  Photo: Juan Suarez
Morning in Havana. Photo: Juan Suarez

This poll suggests that the most important and permanent means for effecting positive change in US policy toward Cuba is registering and mobilizing voters in Miami-Dade county. Although Obama proved that the Cuban-American vote is not essential for winning the White House and Hillary Clinton (presumed 2016 presidential candidate) has recently followed Florida’s current gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist in declaring opposition to the embargo.

Crist believes ending the embargo is the right thing to do. “After 50 years it’s clear that it has not worked. And ending it will create economic opportunities – and jobs – for Florida’s families.”

However, Congressional elections are just as important.

In fact they may be more important considering that much of U.S. policy toward Cuba is codified in Congressional law. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R) uses her position of seniority to bully colleagues into opposing engagement with Cuba and Sen. Rubio (R-FL) threatens to block presidential nominations and use the filibuster to perpetuate the U.S.-Cuba stalemate. In addition, local allies like Rep. Wasserman-Shultz (D) do not hesitate to use their party’s elections structure to wield carrot-and-stick control over fellow policy-makers and candidates.

At the Congressional level one might expect elections to be more responsive to constituent opinion. However, even though 57% of registered voters told this poll that they would vote for a candidate “who supports replacing the embargo with a policy that increases support for independent business owners in Cuba”, lawmakers who disagree with this sentiment 100% have been elected and re-elected term after term.

Florida International University.  Photo: flu blog
Florida International University. Photo: flu blog

This leads to a few questions I’d like to see the pollsters add to their next round of phone calls:

For registered voters:

How important is a candidate’s stand on Cuba policy to your vote choice?

For respondents not registered to vote:

Is there a reason you have decided not to participate in voting?

Can I come to your house right now and personally register you?

41 thoughts on “How do Cuban-Americans in Miami View US Policies toward Cuba?

  • Amnesty International has also often asked the Castro regime to end the human rights abuses, allow free speech, allow freedom for all political parties, …
    If Cuba takes all of Amnesty’s demands at heart the sanctions will end. Why do you continue to abuse Amnesty’s site in support of the exact opposite the organization stands for: respect for human rights?
    It is rather hypocrite to abuse 1% of their message to go against 100% of their views.

  • Friendly reminder, from your Grenadian reader, Reagan was right.

  • Obviously, you have never read transcribed versions of Fidel’s speeches. He has prophesied the death of Capitalism over and over again. How did that work out? And then there is that whole “New Man” thing he clearly misstated. He lied about the “ten million ton harvest” and the ‘super cow’ and most recently stretched the truth about the “moringa” plant. Seems that you have overlooked a few Castro whoppers.

  • Yea but there is a wealth of video of Fidel screaming his ad hominem attacks against the US. As long as a valid nexus can be made between the loudmouth in the video and the incontinent old fool that still remains influential in Cuban policy today, rejecting cooperation with Cuba is an easy argument.

  • nabbey2, things changed very abruptly just earlier this year. Aduana are definitely stamping all passports now, much to the dismay of some Americans traveling through secondary gateways illegally. But it’s a total non-issue.

  • Would you rather listen to your boy Obama drone on with his scripted lies ?
    Probably so.
    Had we the time and venue, I would be perfectly willing to sit with you and listen to and /or read speeches by Obama, Reagan, Bush (hahaha) or any U.S, president and those (unscripted) speeches of Fidel and Fidel then critique them for untruths.
    In fact it is a dream scenario.
    You might want to take the time to do this on your own but with this caveat: as it was with Reagan and his Grenada speech and Fidel’s Grenada speech, history has clearly shown that Reagan lied ( 13 separate ones) and that Fidel’s speech was entirely factual.

  • Well, that has NOT been my experience, nor that of any one else I know, travelling under both circumstances for the past year. Stamping passports of charter flights (at least those coming into terminal 2) and NOT stamping passports on non-charter flights (at least at terminal 3)

  • Fidel hasn’t been screaming into microphones for nearly a decade.

  • Incorrect, aduana are stamping ALL passports now…not just tourist cards. Still, it shouldn’t mean anything when re-entering the US for the average American traveling to Cuba through alternate gateways and without license. The OFAC could careless and hasn’t had the funds alotted to prosecute anyone for about 8 years. However there will now be a means of actually recording the number of Americans who are traveling to Cuba illegally…I’m sure many will be very surprised to see the figures and undoubtedly, this could help to add more credibility for dropping the travel ban aspect of the embargo all together. Things have now reached a tipping point…Raul knows this and is trying to provoke a change in US policy. Once it has become blatantly obvious that the travel ban is is no longer relavent, perhaps it will be dropped and begin a torrent of American tourism to the island. Who better to be ambassadores for change other than your average American with boots on the ground in Cuba.

  • Hahahaha! You are so ill-informed about Cubans. There are FEW Cubans who were willing to sit (or stand) and watch Fidel ramble on and on for his legendary hours-long speeches. Most of those Cubans who did, did so because they had to from fear of reprisal and certainly not out of interest. Fidel was what Merriam-Webster dictionary describes as a “blowhard”, a person who talks too much and who has strong opinions that other people dislike.

  • The links I posted demonstrated police brutality. The people being arrested were only guilty of peaceful disagreement with the “Castro regime”. The interests of Castros thugs is to carry out the orders of the Castros. Depending on the visibility and international ‘celebrity’ of the dissident, these thugs are given orders to mete out the brutality they believe they can get away with without causing an international shitstorm of bad publicity. Even then, it may not matter. For example, Cuban dissident Jorge Luis García Pérez, known as Antunez, has met with the President of the US, and is well known internationally yet the Castros sent their thugs last week to his home in the early morning hours to arrest him and his wife. He was beaten and strangled unconscious and he believes he was injected with an unknown substance.

  • You just disproved your point, Mr. Capiro. According to your quote, US exporters of medicines and medical equipment find the embargo to be a major chill factor, because of, among other things, “the labyrinth of changing US regulations and interpretations… and stiffened penalties for embargo violations. Thus, the embargo comes in the way of the State Department’s decision to send needed medication and medical equipment to Cuba.

  • I wasn’t thinking about progressives in the USA especially but world-wide. Only when the political or economic costs become too high will the US regime relent in its war on the Cuban people. We can’t do much at the moment but keep up the external political pressure — condemnation at the UN and other multilateral organizations, etc. We can’t let the issue die. If we do, the required counter-sanctions will never materialize. It’s going to take some exceptional leadership in China or Europe to implement such sanctions. The current outlook is not encouraging, but things can change quite suddenly in politics.

  • I am having too much fun to ruin it with a paycheck.

  • The great majority of Americans could not care less about “Cuba policy”. In that void, the relatively small group of anti-Castro Cuban-Americans have had what you have labeled “disproportionate impact”. That’s the good news. When Middle America, Rush Limbaugh listeners, 2nd Amendment-types and the vast majority of people who voted for Mitt Romney because they liked him find out the truth about the Castros, socialism, political prisoners and MININT, it will be even worse. One 15-second add with Fidel screaming at a microphone about the death of capitalism and you won’t find 50 votes in Congress to lift the embargo.

  • Don’t confuse “bitter” with passionate. Because my criticisms are direct, I would not classify my comments as “twisted”. You choose to attack me personally rather than refute my comments so I will take that to imply that you lack the ability to stay on topic. You should look up what “psychotic” means by the way. I travel to Cuba on a family visa so if you’ll wait until late July to smoke that Cohiba, I will be there to smoke it with you.

  • Sources please.
    I asked for sources a while ago on your alleged police brutality and got a bunch of pictures showing the LIW being loaded into police cars or buses .
    it looked like any demo in the US that is broken up by the police and the protestors arrested.
    If you’re trying to say that the Cuban police have any interest in beating up old ladies rather than just doing their jobs and getting the LIW to jail or home or whatever, then you’re sounding rather foolish and hyperbolic.
    Have you ever considered using the phrase “Cuban government ” in place of the obviously loaded phrase ” Castro regime.
    I know from listening to right wing radio that the entertainers who host these shows are fond of using the phrase:
    “The Obama Regime” to denigrate the administration but it is really so over-the-top obvious and really hackneyed that rather than gain an edge in any debate, you’re unconsciously losing points.
    You need some fresher , more effective rhetoric.
    Just saying.

  • Great idea.
    I sincerely wish that the corporate media in the U.S. would run a regular series of Fidel’s speeches ( dubbed /translated) .
    I have a couple of books of those speeches and they would make great food for thought as they would now all be well over ten years old and some as old as 50 years .
    All the things Fidel had to say about imperialism , about capitalism and about things like the 13 lies Reagan told to justify the Grenada invasion have been shown over time to be the truth .
    So they won’t run anything like a full speech
    The corporate media will show only the picture of an emotional Fidel waving his fist and shouting in Spanish with certainly no analysis of the factual content .
    Besides, there are few people in the USA willing to sit and watch Fidel speak for 2-3 hours at a clip or even read the speeches so that idea is a non-starter.
    I just watched/listened to a two+ hour YouTube video of Christopher Hitchens verbally annihilating a Christian so I think I could easily deal with two+ hours of Fidel verbally abusing imperialism but otherwise not many others would be interested.
    Thanks for thinking of me. .

  • You spoke of Cuba making some concessions to justify any lifting of the embargo as a matter of diplomacy.
    The embargo is hardly a diplomatic act.
    It is a hostile act which Cuba has absolutely no moral or diplomatic reason to do anything to get it called off.
    It is something imposed by imperialism and imperialism alone is responsible for calling it off.
    It’s like you beating someone lying on the ground and asking them to stop defending themselves and THEN you’ll stop beating them.
    You might want to come to some understanding that FIDEL Castro is retired and no longer is involved in running the country so that people don’t mistake you for Moses.
    Lastly, Cuba is a terrorist state according to the government of the United States .
    That’s like Hitler criticizing someone for spitting in the street.


  • Progressives ?
    That’s a small minority in the center-right Democratic Party.
    “Socialist” President Obama has, from early, on totally disregarded progressives who have tactical objections to some aspects of capitalism and U.S. imperialism/militarism .
    I believe it was Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who told Obama to ignore them and this advice became public knowledge.
    The USA is center-right .
    The electorate supports capitalism and opposes socialism .
    The electorate supports U.S.imperialism and worships the military who are simultaneously the perpetrators and the victims of a most horrible U.S. foreign policy.
    Most progressives voted for Obama because voting for
    Thurston Howell III was just not acceptable.
    Sorry , the US government is a solid oligarchy .
    The USA is stone imperialist .
    Liberals and progressives, at this point in history, are as effective as the Communist Party Of the USA in affecting the strategies of a government owned by the super rich EVEN were they of a mind to challenge capitalism and imperialism .
    There is nothing short of the collapse of capitalism and the end to that terrible power that will bring about anything like democracy in the USA .

  • Aside from the personal insults and incorrect assertions about US passports, what did you contribute to this discussion?

  • Hmmmm…. Not sure about that.

  • DC1945!! I have a 5-year degree from one of the best universities in the USA for Architecture, and I speak 2 languages plus a little Italian! I am no fool dear!

  • No, by no means would I presume to know more about Cuba than Cuban-Americans, at least most of them. What I mean in my comment is what Americans, in general, really know about Cuba. Once they are made aware that middle-aged Christian women dressed in white carrying gladiolas are harassed, beaten and arrested as they silently march from church service, the view of the Castro regime will stiffen considerably.

  • Really, well then I wonder what Mauricio Claver-Carone is paid $100,000 a year to do? Not to mention all the folks like you getting paid por la izquirda or do you all call it por la derecha?

  • The answer is both. If a person traveling on a U.S. passport comes into Cuba on a charter flight, their passport is stamped. I assume that reasoning is because if you are on a charter flight, you have a legal traveling to Cuba in the eyes of the U.S. gov.

    BUT, if you are coming in from a third country on a regularly scheduled commercial flight, they are still only stamping your visa.

  • That is true for the most part. In the case of Cuba policy it has certainly been true that MAJORITY public opinion has not had a significant impact. But the disproportionate impact on Cuba policy (which is handled more like a domestic policy than a foreign policy) that the right-wing Cuban representatives in Florida continue to have is undeniable. The fact that they are increasingly out of touch with their constituents, should cause them some concern. Especially since Joe Garcia, a moderate voice on Cuba policy by comparison, took a Miami Dade congressional seat away from hardliner David Rivera just a few years ago.

  • It’s all the AI website. Here are the links. Enjoy.

    So, don’t believe everything the US regime tells you about Cuba. Nobody else does — not even their closest allies at the UN.

  • Hey DC1945! Here is more information on the import of medical equipment from the “Bad Old USA” to Cuba! Looking forward to your links dear!

    MEDICAL EXPORTS TO CUBA – CHAPTER 3 – U.S. Exporters and Embargo Laws

    Despite the fact that sales to Cuba of medicines and medical equipment may be authorized by the U.S. government, we find that major medical manufacturers in the USA do not in fact export their products to Cuba. Indeed, they report various “chill factors” that keep them from taking advantage of this possibility. Among these are the labyrinth of changing U.S. regulations and their interpretation, licensing requirements and the complex application process, time lags, the uncertainty of final authorization, often based on active discouragement by government offices, and stiffened penalties for embargo violations.

  • Hey DC1945! Can you be a dear and provide a link to your “information” like I do here! Gracias in advance!

    The following is the data for exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba relating to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSRA) of 2000, which re-authorized the direct commercial (on a cash basis) export of food products (including branded food products) and agricultural products (commodities) from the United States to the Republic of Cuba, irrespective of purpose. The TSRA does not include healthcare products, which remain authorized by the Cuban Democracy Act (CDA) of 1992.

  • From one your favourite sources, Humberto. Amnesty International has reported:

    “The US government is acting CONTRARY to the Charter of the United Nations by restricting the direct import of medicine and medical equipment and supplies, and by imposing those restrictions on companies operating in third countries.”

    “The RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY THE EMBARGO help to deprive Cuba of vital access to medicines, new scientific and medical technology, food, chemical water treatment and electricity.”

    “The US embargo against Cuba is IMMORAL and should be lifted. It’s preventing millions of Cubans from benefiting from vital medicines and medical equipment essential for their health.”

    “Amnesty International calls on the US Congress to take, WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY, the necessary steps towards lifting the economic, financial and trade embargo against Cuba.”

    “UN agencies working in Cuba, such as the WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA, continued [as of their 2013 report] to report the negative effects of the US embargo on the health of the population, particularly members of marginalized groups. Access to specific commodities, equipment, medicines and laboratory materials remained scarce as a result of restrictions imposed on the importation of items manufactured by US companies and their subsidiaries or produced under US patents.”

    Makes you proud, don’t it, Humberto? No wonder not even your closest allies at the UN are buying into your self-serving lies and rationalizations.

  • Can others confirm or deny what Analyser states that Cuban immigration have changed policy and are now stamping US passports?

  • Patterson, are you a one ‘man’ propaganda outfit or simply a bitter, twisted and brainwashed (or should that be brain dead) Yank?
    Your constant psychotic, paranoid and distorted ramblings suggest you are non compliant with your prescribed anti psychotic regimen.
    Perhaps you should concentrate in assisting in helping to get your own trigger happy, meddling Country in order prior to spouting your drivel and BS about others.
    On a positive note, the Cuban passport control are now clearly stamping passports rather than visas so all your fellow Yanks visiting via Canada or Mexico will hopefully be sought by your dear Homeland Security.
    I’ll have a Cohiba at your expense. No restrictions for me.

  • What is interesting about this survey is #1, they use the word “Cuba” to refer to the Castro “government” #2 That the majority of the Cuban-Americans polled still want the Castro clan to be included in the list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism” #3 There is an error in the text, given that the Castros can buy food, medicine and other US products but has to do it in cash #4 They never used the word “unilaterally” to clarify how the “Cuban Embargo” would be lifted. Many like me feel that the “Embargo” should be lifted but not until the Castro Clan gives something back to the Cuban people, like free uncensored internet for all living in the island prison. This is how diplomacy works, something the Castro dont want to do with the US!


    Figure 1: Overall, do you think the U.S. embargo of Cuba has worked very well, well, not very well, or not at all?

    Figure 2: Do you favor or oppose continuing the U.S. embargo of Cuba?

    Figure 3: #1 Allow companies to sell medicine to Cuba, do you strongly favor, mostly favor, mostly oppose, or strongly oppose this? #2 Allowing U.S. companies to sell food to Cuba, do you strongly favor, mostly favor, mostly oppose, or strongly oppose this? #3 Some U.S. companies have managed to establish limited business relations with Cuba to sell grain, other agricultural products, and medicine. Should this kind of trade be expanded, kept the same, or stopped?

    Figure 4: Do you favor or oppose the U.S. re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba?

    Figure 5: Should unrestricted travel by all Americans to Cuba be allowed or not?

    Figure9: The U.S. Department of State [or U.S. government] includes Cuba on a list of four countries which the U.S. government considers to be State Sponsors of Terrorism. This designation penalizes persons and organizations engaging in certain activities with Cuba and the other countries on the list. The other countries on the list are Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Do you believe that Cuba should be kept on that list of penalized countries that support terrorism, or be taken off the list?

  • Morality and public opinion plays little or no part in the calculus of US foreign policy. It would probably take tough counter-sanctions by China or Europe to force the US regime to do the right thing in this case. I can’t see that happening. Neither of them have the cojones. For the time being, progressive people will simply have to maximize the political costs of these genocidal sanctions on the world stage.

  • Come off it Moses. Are you trying to say that you know more about Cuba than Cuban-Americans? No offence but they don’t need you to educate them about Cuba. This post proves conclusively that pro-embargo dinosaurs have no right to speak in the name of Cubans.

  • Those under 30 are not necessarily born in the U.S. and the poll shows that Cubans arriving after 1994 share the views of those under 30, so your argument here is faulty.

  • The political naivete expressed in this article is breathtaking.
    Public opinion has little to no influence when it comes to how U.S. foreign policy is determined because anyone elected to national office in the U.S. is automatically in thrall to the very wealthy whose money made their election possible and it is the will and the policies of the wealthy of this oligarchy that will be followed and which have been followed for a good 100 years .
    Hillary Clinton and people like Obama will say everything and anything when on the campaign trail but like the promise to close Guantanamo and wind down the wars, those populist ideas are discarded once these frauds are elected.
    The U.S. electorate is one that is largely misinformed/disinformed as to the aims of U.S. foreign policy and the discontent with how the will of the people is ignored by those elected is manifested in half the electorate that chooses not to waste their time voting in any given election.
    To repeat for the umpteenth time:
    U.S. foreign policy, since at least the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1918 ,
    has been predicated upon the prevention of nationalist, populist and democratic economic movements around the world that oppose capitalism and U.S. imperialism .
    That policy is set in stone and no amount of polling and no degree of popular dissatisfaction will change it. .
    Change would require the death of capitalism which is around 15 years away
    according to the tech crowd.
    The Cuban people have survived 54 years of the U.S. war on its revolution and will certainly survive another fifteen.

  • Dawn fails to consider that the growing sentiment towards relaxing relations with Cuba have been able to march unopposed. That is to say that anti-Castro forces have mounted no campaign to educate the public on the continued tyranny that exists in Cuba. Having worked political campaigns, I am convinced that radio and TV spots laden with Fidel Castro’s anti-US rhetoric and images of Ladies in White marches being broken up by the Castros security forces would go a long way to reversing the trends that Dawn has gleefully highlighted. When Americans learn of the real situation in Cuba, most Americans agree with current policy.

  • Los menores de 30 años son nacidos estadounidenses , ¿qué es lo que realmente saben relativa al embargo y la posición política actual de Cuba ? Nada ! Esta encuesta es irrelevante. Me sorprende que ningún ciudadano de origen cubano querría tener nada que ver con el capitalismo de Estados Unidos en Cuba , sobre todo después de que el país fue violada y saqueada antes de la revolución . Perfeccionar el diseño marxista actual y no el comercio con Canadá! Estamos allí ya y la gente sabe que no somos nada como los americanos .. Así que una encuesta de menores de 30 años de edad de América / Los cubanos no deberían aceptarse como algo más que una estratagema política .. ¿Quién se está ejecutando este juego de tronos ? Mastique en que uno!

  • end the embargo now and join the rest of the world in having open relations with cuba.

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