Cuba Lobby in Washington: Notable Efforts to Influence U.S. Policy
By Lea Terry | Friday, 13 Nov 2015 09:21 PM
In the nearly six decades since Fidel Castro seized control of Cuba, the
United States has maintained a strict policy toward the Communist
country. An embargo placed on Cuba shortly after has restricted trade
and travel between the two countries. The U.S. also has limited to no
diplomatic relations with the country.
A driving force behind the endurance of this policy was the Cuba Lobby,
the name given to a group of anti-Castro influencers and decision-makers
in the United States. Many are Cuban exiles or the children of people
who left Cuba, and some serve in government at the federal and state
levels. Others lead lobbying and advocacy groups such as the Cuban
American National Foundation and the U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC. During the
years, the Cuba Lobby has used its influence to keep the embargo in
place until Cuba improves its human rights record and meets other
In 2014, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) vowed to block President Barack
Obama’s efforts to establish an embassy in Cuba and appoint an
ambassador, CNN reported. The son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio is one of
the Castro regime’s most outspoken critics and has repeatedly spoken out
against lifting restrictions against Cuba without demanding it make
significant changes to how it treats its people.
Prior to that, lawmakers ensured lifting the embargo wouldn’t be easy.
As noted on the Foreign Policy website, in 1996 Senator Jesse Helms
(R-N.C.) and Representative Dan Burton (R-Ind.) authored the Cuban
Democratic and Solidarity Act. The act, also called the Libertad Act and
the Helms-Burton Act, required congressional approval to lift the embargo.
The site also noted that, as of 2013, the U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC had
contributed more than $3 million in campaign funds during the preceding
five national elections. Further, in 1993 the Cuba Lobby was against
President Bill Clinton appointing Mario Baeza as assistant secretary of
state for inter-American affairs. Their reason was that Baeza had made a
visit to Cuba. Clinton subsequently abandoned his endorsement of Baeza.
Source: Cuba Lobby in Washington: Notable Efforts to Influence U.S.