Bob Menendez and Joe Garcia on Cuba Push-Poll

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
From Andres Oppenheimer's column, "Cuba poll won’t change U.S. policy," in The Miami Herald:

[B]oth Republican Cuban-American legislators, who tend to be the staunchest supporters of U.S. sanctions on Cuba, and their democratic counterparts say the poll is not likely to change their pro-embargo stand, nor that of Congress.

“I don’t see the poll as changing the public policy of the Congress of the United States,” Sen. Bob Menendez, head of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, told me in a telephone interview. “I see it as another expression of those who want to change the policy to try to create an environment in which they hope the policy will change. But it’s wishful thinking.”

Congressman Joe Garcia, D-Miami, a strong supporter of President Barack Obama’s policy to expand travel and remittances to Cuba, told me in a separate interview that the new poll “is meaningless.”

“We have seen this before,” Garcia said. He noted that the embargo is an emotional issue for many Cuban-American voters, and that those who support it tend to vote on it, while those who oppose it tend to cast their votes based on other issues.

Garcia added, “There is no will to take this thing on in Congress, because it doesn’t add any votes. And politics is a game of addition, not of subtraction.”