Other Cubans Catch a Different Whiff of Obama

You can send 10 journalists to cover the same thing, and they'll all come back with ten different stories. Case in point: Yesterday we mentioned a journalist from Canada's National Post who wanted to get an anecdotal feeling of what the Cuban exile community was thinking about the upcoming election. He painted a picture of an angry group who wasn't exactly thrilled with McCain, but thought Obama was a socialist, and didn't take kindly to any Obama supporters in the community.

Today, the French press agency AFP tried their hand at chronicling the exile community's political leanings this year and found a group much less hostile to Obama. Partially because of the worsening domestic economy and partially because many are wondering if the current policies towards Cuba are effective and fair, especially after a tightening of the embargo passed under Bush put stricter restrictions on family travel and remittances.

Hernan Santiesteban, 79, a lifelong Republican, intends to vote for Obama.

"We have had 50 years of governments saying they were going to do something for the freedom of Cuba, and yet we have seen nothing," Santiesteban, who was born in Cuba, told AFP.

"I was with Obama at a meeting with other Cubans and I was convinced. He has a willingness to take into account not only Cuban exiles, but also those on the island," he explained. "We all have family there."

An FIU professor even suggests "the economic circumstances that the United States is experiencing, could result in a tsunami vis-a-vis the Cuban vote."

So, which story to believe? That the community still equates the Democrats with the Bay of Pigs and Socialism or that the Republicans may be losing their monolithic support? Of course, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

--Kyle Munzenrieder

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