Obama has more Cuban fans than Castros: survey


April 8, 2015

9e32ec2b87db5b980fcce8804553cbd38f2811b2A woman wears leggings depicting the US flag in Havana, Cuba, on January 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/Yamil Lage)
Miami (AFP) –
In the first poll of Cubans in their country since the United States and Cuba moved toward closer ties, US President Barack Obama was more popular than the Castro brothers, a survey out Wednesday found.
The poll by Bendixen & Amandi International for Univision and The Washington Post was the first following December’s surprise announcement by the two long-time enemies that they would drop their post-Cold War bad blood and seek normal ties.
It was conducted without the consent of the Cuban government; 1,200 Cubans across the island were interviewed in person between March 17-27, said the pollsters who believe it marks the biggest comparable independent survey in Cuba in five decades.
The Miami-based pollsters found that 80 percent of Cubans interviewed said they had a “very positive” or “somewhat positive” opinion of Obama, while 17 percent had a “very negative” or “somewhat negative” view.
At the same time, there was widespread disapproval of Cuban President Raul Castro (48 percent negative, 47 percent positive) and his retired brother, revolution icon Fidel Castro (50 percent negative, 44 percent positive).
Ninety-seven percent said they supported their countries’ efforts to re-establish full diplomatic ties.
And 96 percent said they believed the United States should end its economic embargo on Cuba, the Americas’ only Communist-run country.
Obama and Cuba’s Raul Castro, 83, are expected to have a historic face-to-face encounter at the Summit of the Americas in Panama this week.
The image of US and Cuban presidents sitting across from each other at the 35-nation summit for the first time after decades of Cold War-era animosity will be the highlight of the gathering in Panama on Friday and Saturday.

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