For decades, the U.S. embargo on Cuba has been as much about domestic as foreign policy. In the end, a generational shift in the politics of one key state opened the way for the Obama administration to change half a century of efforts to isolate the island.
Several past administrations debated changes in U.S. Cuba policy, but each time, the fear of angering powerful anti-Castro immigrants and losing a presidential election in Florida blocked the idea. The Clinton administration’s outreach toward Cuba has been blamed by some Democrats for costing Al Gore the votes he needed to win Florida, and the presidency, in the agonizingly close 2000 election.
But the political landscape has shifted.