Only 'Dwindling Number' of the 'Very Hard Line' Oppose Changing Cuba Policy

It may well be that a growing share of the American public favor expanding interaction with Cuba, but in reporting President Barack Obama's decision to allow Cuban-Americans unlimited travel and money transfers to the island, ABC's Jeffrey Kofman and NBC's Andrea Mitchell characterized opponents in a belittling manner -- while Mitchell also advanced complaints Obama did no go far enough. “With today's announcement,” Kofman asserted on ABC's World News, “President Obama is making it clear he is not going to do business as usual.” Kofman then declared: “It is now only the very hard line who want the policy to stay as it is.”

Mitchell, on the NBC Nightly News, acknowledged “some Cuban-Americans...still argue that the Obama White House is only helping Raul Castro and his ailing brother Fidel,” but she dismissed those opponents as “a dwindling number.” She emphasized the view Obama came up short: “President Obama did not propose a far more sweeping step, getting Congress to lift the trade embargo that has lasted for half a century, disappointing opponents of the policy.” Mitchell concluded by adopting that complaint as her own: “For the past year, European countries and the Vatican have been getting Cuba to release political prisoners, but the Obama administration still refuses to negotiate directly with Havana.”

As for where Americans stand, while 64 percent favor a change in policy toward Cuba to allow more travel, fully a third, 34 percent, oppose changing the policy, according to an April 3-5 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll posted by The Polling Report. The question:
Do you think the U.S. government should continue its policy that prevents nearly all U.S. citizens from traveling to Cuba, or do you think the U.S. government should change that policy and allow all U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba?
The conclusion to Kofman's story on the Monday, April 13 World News:
All of this is happening just days before President Obama attends a summit with Latin American leaders, many of whom including American's friends, have been critical of U.S.-Cuban policy. With today's announcement, President Obama is making it clear he is not going to do business as usual. It is now only the very hard line who want the policy to stay as it is.
From the end of Mitchell's NBC Nightly News piece:
ANDREA MITCHELL: President Obama did not propose a far more sweeping step, getting Congress to lift the trade embargo that has lasted for half a century, disappointing opponents of the policy.

SARAH STEPHENS, CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY IN THE AMERICAS: It continues to isolate the United States. China, Russia, Venezuela, everyone else in the world is in Cuba and not the United States.

MITCHELL: And some Cuban-Americans, although a dwindling number, still argue that the Obama White House is only helping Raul Castro and his ailing brother Fidel.

CONGRESSMAN LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART (R-FLORIDA): When you give him unilateral concessions you embolden him. So it's a major mistake.

MITCHELL: For the past year, European countries and the Vatican have been getting Cuba to release political prisoners, but the Obama administration still refuses to negotiate directly with Havana.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center