This week Inside USA travels to Miami, Florida and Havana, Cuba to look at the disproportionate power that the Cuban American vote has over a US presidential election.
Fidel Castro may have stepped down and his younger brother Raul taking his place, but in Miami’s Cuban American community, little has changed.
As an ethnic and ideological group they have carved out significant influence in Washington.
Donations to political groups and politicians are the second highest in the country, after the Jewish pro-Israel lobby.
A key achievement of all the lobbying – an economic embargo that Washington has maintained against Cuba since 1962.
The embargo was supposed to bring down the Castro government, but it has failed. The real effect of the embargo has been extreme poverty for ordinary Cubans.
The Cuban influence is not only due to financial contributions – the state of Florida is a swing state, with a large number of electoral delegates, meaning that the way a few voters behave can have a big impact in a presidential election.
This episode of Inside USA aired from Saturday, March 8, 2008.