August 14, 2015

People in U.S., Latin America approve of renewing U.S. ties with Cuba

In ceremonies today led by Secretary of State John Kerry, the flag was raised at the U.S. Embassy in Havana for the first time since 1961, signifying a re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. Although this renewal has its critics, people across five Latin American nations surveyed in spring of this year approve of the neighboring countries restoring relations, and the American public also overwhelmingly supports this approach.

Strong Support for U.S.-Cuba RelationsNearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) say they approve of the U.S. renewing ties with Cuba. A similar median of 77% across five Latin American countries surveyed (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Venezuela) approve of this action. This includes 79% of Chileans, 78% of Argentines and 77% of Venezuelans. Brazilians (67% approve) and Mexicans (54%) are actually more skeptical of the deal than Americans, whose support has grown 10 percentage points since earlier this year.

Both Americans and Latin Americans also support the U.S. ending its trade embargo against Cuba. Roughly three-quarters in the U.S. (72%) and in Latin America (median of 76%) favor ending the embargo. Only in Mexico (55% support) is there less support for such an action.

Furthermore, a similar share of people in Latin America and the U.S. think that over the next several years, Cuba will embrace democracy. However, far fewer Americans and Latin Americans hold this view compared with those favoring renewed ties. And Americans are far more likely to believe there will not be any great change as far as democracy in Cuba is concerned.

Milder Confidence in a More Democratic Cuba A plurality in each of six Latin American countries surveyed (those listed earlier, plus Peru) say that Cuba will become more democratic over the next several years. A median of 47% say Cuba will embrace democracy, 27% say it will remain the same as now, and only one-in-ten say Cuba will become less democratic. In the U.S., 43% say that Cuba is bound for more democracy, although nearly half (49%) say that democracy in Cuba will remain about the same. Only 3% of Americans say Cuba will become less democratic.

Re-establishing ties is embraced across demographic groups in the U.S., though Republicans (56% approve of renewed ties) are less supportive of the action than Democrats (83%) and independents (75%). In Latin America, there is also general consensus across demographic groups. But higher-income people in the Latin American countries surveyed are generally more supportive of ending the trade embargo than are those with lower incomes.

Topics: Democracy, Latin America, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, Foreign Affairs and Policy

  1. Photo of Jacob Poushter

    is a senior researcher focusing on global attitudes at Pew Research Center.


  1. Aleq Boyle2 years ago

    Good news, rarely do I see a broad consensus emerge when the President (this President) moves on a policy matter- Nice to see this one in that more rare category. Now for what is missing, the public narrative as to manage how US commercial applications begin to flood the Island state- We at NewHavana.Info have our own idea and recommend a measured focus on all things renewable and wish the US would raise that as a mantra as well- Technologies and what can we gain from them? How bout that 98% Plus literacy rate? Wouldn’t that be nice, imagine all the Republicans being able to read and maybe some even to comprehend, wow what a difference that could make in the US!

  2. Jay Leslie2 years ago

    No surprise that our neighbors applaud normalized US relations with Cuba. Our sanctions were an irrational response to the perceived threat of Communism.

  3. Nancy Karen Davis Brian2 years ago

    These young people they poll have not been on earth long enough to know the horrors if this regime. As the Greatest generation passes, an undereducated and unknowlegalbe youth takes its place. Cuba is Putin’s plaything and a horrid dictatorship.

    1. Jay Leslie2 years ago

      Our maybe those polled see the reality of the situation more clearly in hindsight.

    2. Kochevnik2 years ago

      Cuba is a horrid dictatorship, but 50 years of isolation and embargo haven’t done much to change that. Maybe it’s time to try a different strategy?

      The US has maintained diplomatic relations with many regimes worse than Cuba.

    3. Someone born in Cuba2 years ago

      Did you read that Cuba is “Putin’s plaything” or do you just assume it it maybe just hear what Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush say??? I understand dictatorship may apply. Since there’s only one party to chose from. Not to mention same name has been leading the country for over 50 years. BUT that Putin’s plaything it’s a stupid opinion based on nothing. Unless you know something I don’t… And want to share it with us.

  4. Dr. Doctor2 years ago

    Didn’t take long for another phoney poll to pony up raves about support for an unpopular and miserable policy. What a farce polls are. They make the pollsters wealthy and the pollsters get to push their agenda under the guise of simply reporting what their rigged polls report! Time to denigrate the pollsters and to laugh at their continued scams! Snake doctors never had it so good!

    1. Jack Hanke2 years ago

      Do you have actual evidence that the polls are rigged? Or do you think that they must be rigged simply because they show that most Americans disagree with you and your friend group?