Cuban-Americans Support U.S.-Cuba Normalization

U.S.-Cubans living in Miami-Dade County in Florida now support U.S.-Cuba normalization.[1]

This was the result of a survey recently conducted by the International University of Florida. The two countries’ reestablishment of diplomatic relations was supported by nearly 70% of the respondents while 63% supported the U.S. ending its embargo of the island. Professor Guillermo Grenier, who led this research, said, “the trend toward a more open attitude with the approach to Cuba is increasing” and attributed the change to “the expansion of the possibilities of interaction with the island thanks to the new policy-driven the current administration.”

In addition, this survey also showed that 65% of the respondents supported changes in the Cuban Adjustment Act to require Cuban entrants to provide proof of political persecution before becoming eligible for government assistance.

Just over 2 million people of Cuban origin reside in the U.S. today, 70% in Florida and mainly in the Miami-Dade area. Almost 1.2 million (57%) were born in Cuba and 47% of them spent more than 20 years living in that country, while nearly half (43%) were born in the United States. This reflects the decline in the proportion of first immigrants, those who arrived before 1980 who are the most hostile to normalization positions, as well as the proportional increase of their descendants and more recent immigrants.

As reflected in the survey, 93% of those who arrived after 1995 and 87% of those between the ages of 18 and 39 support unrestricted travel to the island. Moreover, all descendants and 76% of more recent immigrants have U.S. citizenship and thus are potential voters in this year’s U.S. election.

Fernand Amandi, a Democratic south Florida pollster, estimates Cuban-Americans could approach 8 percent of the Florida electorate this November. Amandi said polls suggest Trump leads Clinton among Cuban-Americans in Florida, but not by the margins victorious Republican nominees have managed.

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[1] Santana, Majority of Cuban-Americans in Miami oppose U.S. embargo, FIU News (Sept. 14, 2016); Cervera, The consolidation of changes in the Cuban American community, CubaDebate (Sept. 17, 2016); Assoc. Press, Shifting Cuban Voters Could Be the Difference in Florida, N.Y. Times (Sept. 19, 2016).