Cuba Lobby Controversy: 4 Outspoken Critics of Cuba's Leadership in
By Lea Terry | Saturday, 28 Nov 2015 09:55 PM
When Fidel Castro seized control of Cuba in 1959, many people fled,
either out of fear or opposition to the new regime. For decades, people
continued to abandon the country, with many seeking refuge in the United
States. Today, some of the country's most powerful people are of Cuban
descent, including several who hold positions as elected officials.
Sometimes referred to as the Cuba Lobby, they typically oppose loosening
restrictions against Cuba until that country improves life for its
citizens. There are some people, however, who have concerns about the
Cuba Lobby's influence on American policy.
The following people have spoken out against key members of the Cuba Lobby.
1. Noah Feldman, Columnist and Law Professor
Writing for BloombergView, Noah Feldman addressed U.S. President Barack
Obama's plans to normalize relations with Cuba. He argued that the
lobby's success hinged on the vigor with which it pursued its cause and
its generous support for politicians that shared its views. "The Cuba
lobby's success has reflected a deep truth of American politics: where
there's a concentrated interest on one side of an issue, and only a
diffuse interest on the other, the concentrated interest wins."
2. Representative Jim McDermott, D-Wash.
When 6-year-old Cuban Elian Gonzalez was rescued from the ocean off
Florida in 1999, Fidel Castro portrayed the incident as a kidnapping and
maintained the boy belonged in Cuba with his father. Those against the
Castro regime, however, depicted Gonzalez as a refugee who should be
given asylum. Speaking a year after the incident and just after the
boy's return to Cuba, Representative Jim McDermott, D-Wash., referred to
what's called the American-Cuban hard-liners, saying "They showed what
they were really all about. They were ready to sacrifice one of their
own kids, and they didn't really care about separating him from his
father," The New York Times reported.
3. Max Castro, Sociologist at the University of Miami's North-South Center
Also speaking just after the return of Elian Gonzalez, Max Castro said
that the boy's situation created doubt in the minds of some Americans
about the long-held hard-line policy against Cuba. The New York Times
quoted him saying: "Americans have basically said it's a policy that
hasn't worked, and it's inconsistent with the rest of our foreign policy.''
4. Christopher Sabatini, Editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly, Senior
Director of Policy at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas
In a 2014 commentary for Foreign Policy magazine, Christopher Sabatini
criticized the Cuba Lobby's response to anyone who questioned the
efficacy and relevance of the decades-long embargo against Cuba:
"Unfortunately, but not unpredictably, these reasonable calls for a
public debate on Cuba policy have been met with distortions and personal
attacks, as if even daring to raise the question of the efficacy of the
monolithic 52-year-old embargo – the likes of which Washington has never
applied on any other country – is akin to treason."
Source: Cuba Lobby Controversy: 4 Outspoken Critics of Cuba's Leadership
in Washington -