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Authors: Quintero, Oliver
Advisors: Milner, Helen
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, the half a century-old United States embargo against Cuba has undergone cyclical tightening and loosening based on congressional action, but by the will of interest groups. Most Americans and their legislators lost interest in Cuba foreign policy, but two types of special interest groups gained dominant influence over trade sanctions against the island: Cuban-American anti-Castro groups have sought to enforce the embargo; and, in opposition, agribusiness organizations have called for easing of the embargo. This research addresses how these interest groups affect congressional decisions on U.S. – Cuba trade policy. Through quantitative and qualitative-based empirical analyses, the study finds: 1) interest groups have had a strong impact on U.S. – Cuba trade policy, particularly from 1992-2014; 2) pro-embargo interest group campaign contributions are effective, though insufficient, means to influence House representative’s votes strengthening the embargo; and 3) the agribusiness lobby, relying primarily on its ability to provide information to influence change over the embargo, altered its strategy to treat trade between the United States and Cuba as not only an economic issue, but also a social and political issue. This thesis shows that interest groups are largely responsible for the cyclical tightening and loosening of the embargo and, thereby, for enduring uncertainty around U.S. – Cuba trade relations.
Extent: 79 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2017

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