Saint Peters Blog
By: Mitch Perry
A new poll finds a majority of voters in Iowa, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee thinkrestoring relations and relaxing the travel ban with Cuba is the right thing to do.
The poll of four heartland states was conducted by The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center in partnership with Engage Cuba. It shows that although 70 percent of voters think the United States is on the wrong track, 58 percent of those same voters are for President Barack Obama’s new policies on U.S.-Cuba relations.
“For years, U.S. policy toward Cuba was dictated by a small group of individuals in the U.S., but issues of trade, investment and travel impact all Americans,” said Peter Schechter, director of the Arsht Latin America Center. “One year after President Obama began to normalize relations and allowed for some openings, there is majority support – from Democrats and Republicans – to continue the momentum. You would be hard-pressed to find any other Obama administration policy with this much Republican support.”
In January, Obama eased economic restrictions on Cuba in the biggest diplomatic breakthrough between the countries since the days of Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959 and the ensuing Bay of Pigs invasion and Cuban Missile Crisis.
The action sought to cut red tape for U.S. travel to Cuba, permit American companies to export telephones, computers and Internet technology, and allow US firms to send supplies to Cuban private enterprises.
Travel restrictions were liberalized somewhat, but U.S. travelers still have to go on supervised group trips to visit the island.
The new poll shows overwhelming support for removing those restrictions on travel, with 67 percent supporting removing all restrictions, and 28 percent wishing to maintain them.
Among Republicans, it’s 54-39 percent for ending those restrictions. Among independents, it’s 66-31 percent, and among Democrats, it’s 83-12 percent supporting the removal of restrictions.