The New Cuba Divide

An unexpected alliance of farmers, northern liberals and western conservatives is emerging to challenge the U.S. political status quo on Cuba.

Issue: Spring 2002

The U.S. embargo of Cuba has been an extraordinarily resilient foreign policy, able to weather diverse political trends and even historical eras without substantial challenge. Change is afoot, however, and the best evidence of that change may be found in Congress. In July 2001, the House of Representatives voted for the second consecutive year to cut off the funds to enforce travel restrictions to Cuba; key Senators pushed for even broader repeal of the sanctions. The September 11 attacks stunted this process, but not, it seems, for very long. On the one hand, a palpable sense of national crisis eclipsed any movement to normalize relations with Cuba, particularly in light of Fidel Castro's public criticism of the U.S.-led war on terrorism. With the continued support of President Bush, the embargo seemed virtually unassailable.

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