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Page last updated at 18:54 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Inside Cuba: Your Views

Cubans sitting in a cafe in Havana

The American and Cuban governments have been at odds for decades but under all the icy rhetoric, might there be a thaw underway?

Many young Americans seem to think it is time for change. A new survey conducted by the BBC and Harris Poll (result below), found only a handful of the 18 to 34 year olds questioned said they considered Cuba an enemy. While more than a third of those over the age of 55 held that view.

BBC News/Harris Poll
Source: Harris

Since the revolution which brought Fidel Castro to power, Cuba has survived 50 years of US sanctions intended to topple his government.

Many Cubans hoped that the election of a new US president would lead to improved political and economic relations between the two countries but, despite President Obama's relaxing of travel restrictions, the US trade embargo remains in force.

But despite the animosity between the two states, the poll showed that an overwhelming number of Americans think the relationship with the island nation is an important one (result below).

BBC News/Harris Poll
Source: Harris

The BBC News/Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States on February 11 and 15, 2010 among 2,010 adults (aged 18 and over).


You have been sending us your views on whether the US and Cuba should forge closer ties.

Some of your comments are published below.

I am the son of a Cuban dissident. My father was imprisoned for merely commenting to a co-worker that he did not like the communist system being implemented. People say the embargo is a "Cold War relic" but the Castro brothers are the true relics. Nothing has changed on the island, and it is not due to American steadfastness.
Ricardo, Miami, FL

I am Cuban born, migrated to the US in 1967 at the age of 11. The point I would like to make to Mr.Frei so that he may ask the question of Raul Castro is: What is the apprehension to allowing political freedom in Cuba? As Amnesty International points out there are over 200 political prisoners in Cuba, in fact one of them, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, just died as a result of a hunger strike that he initiated to protest cruel punishment in Cuban jails; and there are also countless others who, though not in jail, are publicly ostracized, marginalized and bullied by the police, this intimidation is a conscious effort to repress the political and intellectual freedom that Cubans demand and deserve.
Juan, NY, NY, USA

For many years any government of Latin America or even S.America could ill afford the wrath of Washington. Fidel Castro of Cuba has been the exception. He has outlasted 9 American presidents. The CIA has tried and so has the Cubans in Miami.
James Hall, USA

It is in the interest of Cuban people that there country should have friendly relationship with USA and Western world. Cuban government should take initiative to bury the past.
Syed Nizam Uddin Ashraf, Karachi, Pakistan

With proper assistance, Cuba can become a vacation hot spot for Americans. Both countries would benefit from this.
D C, MI, USA

The US needs to get over its fits which resulted from Cuba's takeover of US companies which had been contributing to pre-revolution corruption and exploitation in Cuba. The US also needs to disregard the self-exiled Cuban expat political lobby in Miami and elsewhere, many who represent the pre-revolution privileged class, and devise a policy which acknowledges Cuba as it is. The US hypocritically has relations and trades openly with Communist China while it decries Cuba as being a Communist state.
Not Rocket Science, Blogsville, USA

After 40 years of Communist dictatorship under Castro I would say that yes, it is time for a change.
Dave, Durham, UK

The US doesn't need to do anything extensive or complex to bring about favourable changes to Cuba. It's not brain science - just let McDonald's or Pepsi or the Gap operate there. US companies will get new revenue, Cuba will get taxes, and the Cubans will get a taste of consumerism and capitalism. It worked in Russia and China - why not Cuba?
Muhammad Zaman, Oxford, England

I would always welcome closer ties! As long as the US does not call the shots! The World has a lot to learn from Cuba.
Huseyin, London, UK

We need to change our relationship with Cuba. Our policy is quite outdated. Surely a small country to our south is not really a danger? We need to embrace our neighbors. We need to understand their culture and it would not hurt to see what we could learn from their healthcare system.
Mary Turnpaugh, Stone Mountain, GA, USA

It's sad that in this age of diplomacy we are still at odds with one of our closest neighbors. Closer ties between Cuba and the US would be beneficial to both countries as well as the rest of the world. However in this case I feel as though there is still too much finger pointing going on from both sides to come to a 100% peaceful partnership right now. Things though are looking up.
Alyse, Albuqueruqe, USA

As an US citizen (non Cuban decent) I think many of us would like to see a "thaw" or "warming" of relations with Cuba, for a number of reasons. First and foremost they are not even 100 nautical miles away and we do nothing for them! If anything happens in Cuba we sit on the sidelines and wait for some other country to provide support to them. Secondly there are great amounts of services we could be providing to the developing country. Tourism from the US alone would make huge strides for their GDP, GNP as well as their standard of living. And lastly, this is much higher priority, the families separated by 60 years of sanctions and travel restrictions have most certainly have suffered.
Cory, USA



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