Majorities in the “heartland” states of Ohio, Iowa, Indiana and Tennessee say they are in favor of ending the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba and scrapping restrictions on travel to the island, according to a survey made public Tuesday by the Atlantic Council.
Despite being states with a conservative political bent and with Republican governors who openly criticize the actions of President Barack Obama, support for these normalization measures with Cuba stands at as much as 58 percent.
Sixty percent of the people surveyed said they feel that the opening to Cuba would be beneficial for the agricultural sector, 67 percent say they are in favor of ending all travel restrictions and 68 percent say that the United States did the right thing by reestablishing diplomatic relations with Havana.
This, the survey emphasized, within the context of Obama’s 30-or-so percent approval rating in these states and the rejection of his policies by more than 60 percent of the citizens in Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Tennessee.
The survey was conducted Oct. 15-18 among 600 likely voters in the four states and has an error margin of 4 percent.
“One year after President Obama began to normalize relations and allowed for some openings, there is majority support – from Democrats and Republicans – to continue the momentum,” said Peter Schechter, the head of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, in a statement.
Schechter added that “You would be hard-pressed to find any other Obama administration policy with this much Republican support.”
In September, in a new move, the government eased the restrictions on travel to, doing business with, sending remittances and providing telecommunications services to Cuba.
Obama repeatedly has come out in favor of lifting the embargo on the communist island, something that can only be done by Congress, which currently is controlled by a Republican majority and where lawmakers are resistant to such a move.
The historic process of rapprochement begun in December 2014 led to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, which had been broken in 1961, with the reopening last July of embassies in Washington and Havana.
One of the main sources of pressure to lift the trade embargo comes from the U.S. business community, which says that it is losing a business opportunity in a market of 11 million people just 150 km (some 90 mi.) off the Florida coast. EFE