William M. LeoGrande

William M. LeoGrande

William M. LeoGrande es profesor de gobierno en la Escuela de Asuntos Públicos de la American University en Washington, DC Es coautor de Peter Kornbluh, de Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations entre Washington y Havana. Twitter: @WMLeoGrande

OnCuba Archive

Fear of Florida: Why Biden doesn’t act on Cuba

The U.S. vote in the United Nations General Assembly against the resolution calling on the United States to lift its embargo on Cuba is another example of President Joe Biden’s reluctance to move away from Donald Trump’s Cuba policy. The first signal was the administration’s decision to reaffirm, with no real evidence, Trump’s determination that Cuba is not supporting U.S. counterterrorism efforts. The reason for Biden’s failure to reengage with Cuba, despite promising he would during the campaign, is fear of Florida. Democrats are still suffering electoral PTSD from Al Gore losing the state — and the presidency — to George W. Bush by 537 votes, a loss in which Cuba was a central issue and Cuban Americans played a pivotal role. Gore won just 20 percent of the Cuban American vote in Florida in 2000, far below Bill Clinton’s tally of 35 percent four years earlier. The reason was Elián González, the five-year-old boy found floating in an inner tube after his mother and other Cuban adults drowned trying to cross the Florida Straits. To the outrage of most Cuban Americans, the Clinton Justice Department forcibly seized Elián from his uncle in Miami in April 2000, and returned him to his father in Cuba. In November, Cuban Americans cast a “voto castigo” — a punishment vote —...