As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Actually, Americans Want To Fully End The Freeze In Relations With Cuba

So the mild steps taken by the President on Cuba were supposed to be the end of Western civilization as we know it, if you listen to talk radio, but not only are Americans, even Cuban-Americans, cool with it, but they would rather the President go even further than he's currently willing to go:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As President Barack Obama weighs the future of U.S.-Cuba relations, Americans continue to express support for closer ties. Since 1999, a majority of Americans have consistently said they favor re-establishing U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba -- including 60% in a new Gallup Poll conducted after Obama's decision last week to relax some restrictions.

While Obama's move did not go as far as re-establishing full diplomatic relations with Cuba, his decision to grant Cuban-Americans rights to travel freely to Cuba and to send remittances there, and to give U.S. telecommunications companies the right to pursue business there represent a first step. On Sunday at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, Obama said that America's existing policy toward Cuba isn't working and that he would welcome reciprocal moves by Cuba to put the two nations on a path toward better relations.

Over the past decade, Gallup has found Americans remarkably steadfast in their views about U.S. relations with Cuba -- particularly in regard to the U.S. trade embargo. Since 1999, Americans have been more likely to support than oppose the U.S. government's ending its trade embargo against Cuba -- with support narrowly ranging between 48% and 51%, including 51% in the new poll.

Americans more widely support ending restrictions on travel to Cuba -- with 64% in favor.

What's notable is how remarkably stable these numbers have been for a decade. The people are far ahead of the politicians on this one, recoginizing that a fifty-year embargo has done nothing but put the Cuban people into poverty while not affecting their leaders or the changes sought in their policies.

I support the first step that Obama has done, but agree with the majority of Americans that he could do more. Let's see how the Cuban government reacts.

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