Poll: Majority of Republicans support Cuba travel, trade

The Hill 

 

A majority of registered Republican voters support travel and trade with Cuba, according to a new analysis from an advocacy group that opposes the U.S trade embargo.

The poll from Engage Cuba, conducted by Morning Consult, estimates that 6 in 10 Republican voters agree with policies that ease travel and trade restrictions with the island nation.

The findings come as President Trump is expected to soon roll out a new policy toward Cuba that may take a harder line with the communist nation.
 

“The overwhelming support of the American people for continuing this policy of Cuba engagement should serve as a warning flag to President Trump,” said James Williams, president of Engage Cuba.

“Such a reversal would hurt American jobs, add burdensome regulations on the business community and would be a huge blow to the Cuban people whose lives have improved because of these changes, including the hundreds of thousands of Cubans who have started their own private businesses."

Former President Barack Obama announced a historic agreement in 2014 to restore diplomatic and commercials ties with Cuba.

Since then, the U.S. has reopened embassies in Havana and Washington, removed Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terror, resumed commercial air service with the island and carried out a string of other regulatory actions aimed at bringing the two countries together.

Tourism to Cuba, however, is still prohibited, while the trade embargo has not been lifted.

According to the Engage Cuba poll, 64 percent of Republican voters support maintaining the Obama-era policy changes, while 22 percent oppose and 55 percent of GOP voters want to fully lift trade and travel embargo. Twenty-six percent are opposed to that idea.

The poll surveyed 2,000 registered voters around the country.

Trump has been under pressure from Cuba hard-liners in Congress to go tougher on the country, but there have been divisions in the administration about how far to go in rolling back the current U.S. policy toward Cuba.

The GOP has been showing signs of warming up to increasing engagement with Cuba.

In the Senate, a bipartisan duo reintroduced a bill that would allow Americans to travel to Cuba for tourism purposes. The legislation has a total of 55 co-sponsors, including 10 Republicans. When the bill was introduced in the last session of Congress, it had eight original co-sponsors.

 

 

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