Continued from page 1

Florida is home to more than two-thirds of all Cubans living in the U.S., some 1.2 million. However, the poll’s overall results for the state are not necessarily indicative of the Cuban-American community. The sample size of Cuban-Americans was not large enough to draw any conclusions specific to the community.

Supporters of the embargo criticized the poll for not informing participants in greater detail about human rights violations on the island.

“The poll skims over the Castro dictatorship’s egregious human rights record, including the beatings, arrests and imprisonments increasing over the past few weeks,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican Cuban-American representative from South Florida, said in a statement.

Schecter said the Atlantic Council chose to conduct the poll now because Cuba remains one of two significant structural problems for the U.S. in Latin America, the other being immigration. He noted that the European Union recently decided to start negotiations with Cuba to upgrade its ties with the Caribbean island nation. Bob Graham, the former Florida governor and senator who supports the embargo, traveled to Cuba in January to discuss oil drilling safety and standards, another area of mutual concern for the two countries, which are just 90 miles apart.

Prominent members of the Cuban-American community, including billionaire sugar baron Alfonso Fanjul, have also expressed their interest in engaging with the island, on everything from business to art.

“We thought it was time to consult the most important stakeholder of all, which is the American people,” Schechter said.


Follow Christine Armario on Twitter: