Most Americans support renewed ties with Cuba: Poll

AFP , Wednesday 8 Apr 2015

A majority of Americans support the restoration of US diplomatic relations with Cuba as well as sanctions on Venezuelan officials, according to a poll released Wednesday ahead of a regional summit likely to be dominated by those issues.

The Marist College poll found that 59 percent of those responding said they agreed with the re-establishment of relations between the United States and the island's communist regime, severed for more than half a century.

Another 26 percent were opposed and 15 percent had no opinion, according to the poll, which was commissioned by Telemundo and MSNBC television networks.

Among Latins who participated in the poll, 56 percent supported renewed relations and 25 percent were opposed.

Queried about the US sanctions slapped last month on Venezuelan officials linked to human rights abuses, 50 percent said the punishment was appropriate, while 20 percent said it was not strong enough and 13 percent thought it was too extreme.

For Hispanics, the proportion varied slightly: 52 percent said the sanctions were appropriate, 16 percent said they were too weak, 19 percent too strong.

The Summit of the Americas in Panama Friday and Saturday is expected to bring US President Barack Obama and Cuba's President Raul Castro face to face for the first time since their landmark December 17 decision to normalize relations.

While that development has been widely applauded in the region, Obama's decision to sanction the Venezuelan officials, declaring the South American oil producer a threat to US national security, has been controversial even among Washington's Latin allies.

On another hot button issue, the poll showed broad support in the United States for Obama's executive measures in November to give legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants, 57 in favor to 41 against.

Support rose to 78 percent among Latins, with only 21 percent opposed.

The poll was conducted between March and April in English and Spanish with 1,446 persons. It had a 2.6 percent margin of error.

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