Saturday, August 21, 2004

Cuba policy: another self-inflicted wound of the Bush Administration

Carol J. Williams reports today from Cuba for the Los Angeles Times, and finds further evidence that the latest Bush sanctions --which, among other things, limits travel by Cuban-Americans to their motherland only once every three years as of June 30-- are sparking "more improvising than uprising:"
With a household income of $16 from a daughter still living with them, Soler and Rodriguez have been receiving about $200 more each month from their emigre children via Cuban American travelers. With more than 115,000 of them visiting the island nation last year alone, a thriving network has developed to relay cash to needy loved ones around the country, enabling the providers to avoid transfer charges that can amount to 15% of wired remittances....

The couple's children are responding like most relatives in the U.S.: They're searching for ways to get around the restrictions by sending money through third countries and vowing to visit whether the sanctions allow that or not.
But if the sanctions are having little of its intended effects in Cuba, it's great news for Democrats in Florida:
A poll last month of Cuban American voters in four southern Florida counties showed a significant drop in support for President Bush among the community that gave him 82% of its vote four years ago and provided the deciding edge in his razor-thin victory in the state. Only 66% of Florida Cubans now support Bush, according to the poll commissioned by the William C. Velasquez Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan Latino voter research group.

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