Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A Ten Foot Poll

Well, the poll finally came out, and the hard-liners are scrambling like it was a Godzilla. Yesterday, the Florida International University (FIU) publicly released its occasional Cuba Poll, and some of its findings indicate a growing and unbearable trend: Cuban-Americans are beginning to oppose US policy towards Cuba!

FIU has been polling Cuban-Americans in the Miami area since 1991. And, every once in while they release the most comprehensive polling data about the Cuban exile community, and the results have always been revealing and enlightening. The Cuba Poll, since 1997, has been headed by the Institute for Public Opinion Research at FIU, led by Dr. Guillermo J. Grenier, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, and Dr. Hugh Gladwin, Director of the Institute for Public Opinion Research. As the principle investigators, they have led the way to find out the current attitudes about Cubans in Miami. But, there are some people that wouldn't touch the findings with a ten-foot pole.

Ana Carbonell, from the office of US Representative (District 21) Lincoln Diaz-Balart, has described this poll as a "propaganda tool used by those who want to ease sanctions and normalize relations with the regime." It seems that Ana Carbonell is not aware that many polls show that Americans oppose current policy towards Cuba. But, since Lincoln Diaz-Balart favors current US policy, and the 2004 travel restrictions as "part of an important means" against Cuba, he will most likely avoid this poll as much as possible. Also, upon the release of the new poll, Ninoska Perez-Castellon from Radio Mambi was prepared to discredit the findings on her radio program at 3pm.

But, no one has yet to directly challenge the findings, and most likely no one will. Yet yesterday, Ninoska Perez-Castellon made an embarrassing challenge against the findings. Her argument was not based on the content of the Cuba Poll, but rather on the credibility of Carlos Saladrigas, co-chairman of the the Cuba Study Group (CSG), which funded the poll. Ninoska went off on a tangent about what Saladrigas said in the late 90's and how its doesn't jive with his current posture. I have no idea how this has anything to do with the new Cuba Poll. The funding of the CSG has not altered in any way the basic framework of the Cuba Poll. Since 1997, way before the formation of the Cuba Study Group, the Cuba Poll has asked the same basic questions, with small variations in order to address current political issues. This is also the first time the Cuba Poll is funded by the CSG, yet the principle questions are the same ones from 1997, 2000, and 2004.

6 comments:

Ricardo said...

I vehemently disagree with the way Ninoska has been discredited in this article. Yes she talked about Saladrigas and his previous stances on the travel restrictions, but Ninoska also read some of the survey question and showed how the survey questions were framed and how BIASED they were in eliciting an answer that favored the acutal (and probably pre-planned) findings of the poll.

Mambi_Watch said...

Ricardo,

I re-read my comments that mention Ninoska Perez-Castellon. I focused on her argument (from her March 2 show at 3pm) based on her criticism of Saladrigas. Since we both have different interpretations of the show, then I shall be more specific.

On that day, Ninoska Perez-Castellon spent the majority (I would approximate more about 70%) of her show being critical of Carlos Saladrigas. She took no calls that day too. She spent the majority of the show reading past articles about Carlos Saladrigas and his past position on Cuban travel during the last Pope visit to Cuba.

That was her main argument. I hardly remember any direct mention of the questioning and bias of the Cuba Poll. Yet, if she did, then her argument would suggest that the Cuba Poll now contradicts the old position of Carlos Saladrigas. But, notice that the issue of bias was not the main issue, it was Saladrigas.

If you have evidence on the contrary please present it, I would love to hear the show again. I have no interest in discrediting Ninoska Perez-Castellon personally, instead I think her arguments are baseless. I think she can do a better job if she gets more facts to support her arguments.

Ricardo said...

Unfortunately I do not have the transcript of the Radio program, but I DID HEAR it, just like you did. She DID talk about the poll, I can assure you of that. Also, I think that her attack on Saladrigas was very eloquent. Yes she brought up his change in position regarding the travel ban over the years, but her fundamental argument, which was a very WELL THOUGHT and SENSICAL argument was the following:Regarding the travel ban, what will an ease of the travel restrictions really do for Cuba? Will it really bring democracy to the island? I don't think so. Spain has had businesses in Cuba and several hotel chains in Cuba for many years now and not even the presence of the Spanish, who are from a democratic country and share the same language and culture as Cubans, has brought any type of change to the island. The U.S. should not ease the travel restriction and get nothing in return from Cuba. Too many people have died in the high seas, in foreign wars, in firing squads and too many people have disappeared for the U.S. to ease the travel restrictions for nothing in return. Perhaps if Cuba were to end the apartheid system it currently has in place, which prevents Cubans on the island from visiting hotels and having access to all these democratic ideals, then maybe the U.S. should ease the travel restrictions.

Mambi_Watch said...

Ricardo,

You are correct that Ninoska Perez-Castellon made a well-thought argument about travel to Cuba. But, notice that this has NOTHING to do with FIU's Cuba Poll. The issue of travel to Cuba is tangential, while the Cuba Poll focuses on response to several issues.

Saladrigas' comments or beliefs have not affected or altered the basic design or model of the Cuba Poll. To focus on Saladrigas is to obviate from the main issue: general Cuban American attitudes that are found in the 2007 Cuba Poll.

Let us have a debate about travel at another time because I have plenty to say about the subject and I will try to bring it up in the future.

Ricardo said...

Like I said before, Ninoska's argument was the fact that the Cuba Poll was biased. Saladrigas along with Lisandro from FIU made this poll. She stated who constructed the poll, proceeded to give the listeners of her show BACKGROUND info on Saladrigas' points of view and then, using Saladrigas' views (which she disagrees with), Ninoska read the poll questions and showed how they are biased to elicit an answer that agrees with Saladrigas' point of view.

Mambi_Watch said...

Ricardo,

You are incorrect in stating that "[Carlos]Saladrigas along with Lisandro [Perez] from FIU made this poll."

They did not make this poll, or ever did. The FIU poll is the work of Guillermo Grenier (Director of the Center of Labor Studies) and Hugh Gladwin (Director of the Institute for Public Opinion Research) of FIU, since at least 1997 (before the creation of the Cuba Study Group).

Please take the time to read the actual poll and its summaries before making any further inaccurate statements.