Poll: Castro’s Hostility & Human Rights Record Fuel Strong Disapproval Of Obama’s Concessions To Regime


The more Americans know about the Castro regime’s record on human rights violations and hostility toward the United States, the more likely they are to strongly disapprove of President Obama’s Cuba gambit, according to a national opinion poll released today by Inter-American Security Watch.

            Respondents to the poll initially supported President Obama’s December 17th decision tonormalize diplomatic relations and ease travel and financial restrictions with the island by a margin of 51%-38%. However, when the question was posed along with fresh examples of Cuba’s dealings with Russia, North Korea, cop-killers and terrorists, the results were dramatically reversed, withnormalization opposed by about 30- to 40-point margins.

            When asked if sanctions should be maintained pending progress by Cuba on human rights and elections, respondents agreed 64%-16%; and, when asked if Cuba’s designation as a supporter ofterrorism should be maintained because it harbors terrorists, respondents agreed 68-16%.

            “President Obama’s decision to cave to Castro was terrible diplomacy and, now we know, foolish politics,” said former U.S. Ambassador Roger F. Noriega of Inter-American Security Watch.  “When Americans hear basic facts about Castro’s hostility and human rights violations, they know that the President’s unilateral concessions only emboldened a dangerous, despotic regime.”

            Inter-American Security Watch is a web-based resource on developments in Latin America and the Caribbean that have a negative impact on hemispheric stability and U.S. security.

            The survey of 700 likely voters, with an oversample of 300 Cuban-American voters, was taken March 16-23, by the pollster OnMessage Inc.


To:                   Press

From:             Wes Anderson & Kayla Dunlap

Date:                 March 24, 2015

Re:                   Cuba Issues National Survey


Below are highlights from our recent national survey of likely voters conducted March 16-23, 2015. The survey released by Inter-American Security Watch consists of 700 likely voters with an oversample of 300 Cuban American voters. The overall goal of this project was to gain a better understanding of voter sentiment regarding President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba.

To begin, without any detailed information, a bare majority of voters (51%) said they favored the Obama Administration’s call to normalize and reestablish relations with Cuba while 38% said they opposed it. Unsurprisingly, opposition was driven primarily by Republicans (30/60 Oppose) and Cuban Americans (41/54 Oppose) while support was found primarily on the left. That said, support quickly eroded once voters were presented with evidence of Cuba’s continuous hostile state towards the United States.

Question: Do you favor or oppose the Obama Administration normalizing relations with Cuba?






Cuban Americans













When reminded that just two years ago “the Cuban government was caught smuggling 240 tons of military weaponry to North Korea in direct violation of international law” and that “last month a shipment of Chinese missile warheads en-route to Cuba was intercepted by the Colombian government,” a noteworthy 63% of voters said they opposed the United States lifting sanctions on Cuba, with 54% saying they strongly oppose it. Similarly, when told that the Cuban government is currently “harboring international fugitives and terrorists” another 63% stated they were against lifting sanctions on Cuba.

After being presented with these facts, voters were then asked whether the United States should lift all sanctions and normalize relations without any concessions from the Cuban government” or whether we should maintain sanctions until “all political prisoners are freed, human rights are respected and multi-party elections are held.” Maintaining sanctions won by a significant 64% to 16% margin, winning majorities across all parties. Even among the original 51% who favored normalizing relations, 58% said they favored maintaining sanctions until certain conditions were met.

Question: As you may know, the U.S. currently has a trade and tourism embargo on the Cuban government. Some argue that we should lift all sanctions and normalize relations without any concessions from the Cuban government. Others believe that we should not lift U.S. sanctions until all political prisoners are freed, human rights are respected and multi-party elections are held.   Which of the statements comes closest to your opinion?






Cuban Americans

“Favor Normalization” initial prompt

Favor maintaining sanctions







Favor lifting sanctions







Furthermore, by a 68% to 16% spread, voters said they favored keeping Cuba on the terror list after being told the Cuban government was recently “caught smuggling arms to North Korea.” This included 55% of Democrats, 66% of Independents, 82% of Republican and 59% of those who favored normalizing relations in the initial prompt.

Question: The Cuban government was recently caught smuggling arms to North Korea, and is known for providing refuge to recognized terrorist organizations such as the FARC and is harboring one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists. Some say that the United States should remove Cuba from the list of states that sponsor of terrorism. Others believe that Cuba should not be removed from the list because it continues to harboring members of terrorist organizations.   Which of the statements comes closest to your opinion?






Cuban Americans

“Favor Normalization” initial prompt

Favor keeping Cuba on terror list







Favor removing Cuba from terror list







Bottom line, American voters are quick to oppose normalization as soon as they are reminded of Cuba’s long and continuing history of human rights abuses and opposition to American interests. Additionally, a strong majority of voters oppose lifting sanctions or granting any type of renewed diplomatic relations as it would merely be a reward for bad behavior. While normalizing might be the ideal long term goal, it’s clear that informed voters are far from believing doing so will result in anything more than a liability to US interests, safety and freedom.


The following national survey was conducted by OnMessage Inc.. Telephone interviews were conducted on March 17-20, 2015. This survey consists of 700 likely voters with an oversample of 300 likely Cuban American voters. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 3.70%


Wes Anderson is a leading GOP pollster with 20 years of experience in opinion research.  As a founding partner, Wes now leads the polling divisions of OnMessage Inc. and OnMessage Sports, providing political and corporate clients with a full spectrum of quantitative and qualitative opinion research products.  You can read more about 

Click here to view press release of the Cuba Issues National Survey.


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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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