The Cuba Lobby Then and Now

One of the great myths about Fidel Castro’s nearly forty-year reign in Cuba is that U.S. opposition to his rule has been undivided, implacable, and inflexible. This myth is wrong on several counts. First, those who oppose Castro’s rule-whether they are part of the Cuban-American community or the wider society-are as divided as any other single ethnic group in the United States on any other issue. Second, mass support for the regime of the Cuban dictator has been either absent or ineffectual. In contrast, one would have to say that the Cuba Lobby is alive and well. It is as single-minded in its limited aims as the opponents have been divided in their more ambitious concerns. What restrains the Cuba Lobby, or at least limits its effectiveness, is that the vast majority of ordinary Cuban-Americans, citizens clustered in such strategic voting blocs as South Florida and North New Jersey, remain essentially opposed to extending ties to Castro. On the other side, elites supporting Castro are clearly well positioned and well funded. They emphasize select policies rather than mass politics.

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