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Older Cuban-Americans Protest Obama, But Poll Suggests Younger Generation Approves

Dec 22, 2014
Originally published on December 22, 2014 2:30 pm

  President Obama's decision last week to normalize relations with Cuba was bad news for Cuban exiles who oppose engagement with the communist island. And a new poll released over the weekend doesn't give them a lot of future comfort, either.

The survey by the Bendixen and Amandi International firm, conducted for the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and Tampa Bay Times, shows Cuban-Americans are split on President Obama’s new Cuba policy: 48 percent say they disagree with it while 44 percent agree.

On Saturday, some 250 mostly older Cuban exiles gathered in Little Havana to condemn Obama’s decision. 

“I consider it a great betrayal,” said 70-year-old Esperanza Garcia, who fled the Castro dictatorship 45 years ago. “This will benefit the Castros’ pockets, not the Cuban people.”

But younger Cuban-Americans under age 65 favor Obama’s move. Only a third think the U.S. should maintain its trade embargo against Cuba.

Garcia argued, “It’s because they didn’t suffer what we suffered.”

"I don't agree with the poll results," said John Suarez of the Directorio Democrático Cubano, one of the groups that organized Saturday's protest. "I'm part of a younger generation of [pro-embargo] activists and I can assure you there is ample support for [the embargo] among 20-, 30- and 40-year-olds."

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