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Cuba-linked PACs staying out of 2012 vote

Sept. 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM

MIAMI, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Fundraising groups say donations to organizations both for and against lifting U.S. economic sanctions on Cuba have dropped dramatically this year.

Officials of the groups say congressional inaction and presidential reluctance to take on the issue provide little incentive for donors, The Miami Herald reported Monday.

Of eight political action committees with Cuba-related names registered with the Federal Election Commission, only three have filed reports for the current electoral season, the newspaper said.

Albert Fox, the founder of one of those groups, U.S. Cuba Now, which pushes for lifting the boycott, said he cut down on fund raising because Obama had failed to improve relations with Cuba.

The group has collected only $6,600, it reported in its latest filing with the FEC.

A member of the PAC's board of directors, Hugo Cancio, said polls have found a majority of Cuban Americans favor unrestricted travel and remittances to Cuba. However, people in that group tend to be younger and less engaged in the political process, he said.

Even contributions to groups that want to keep economic restrictions on the island nation are down.

Pro-sanctions group U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC said in its latest filing it had collected $360,000 and it expected to raise $700,000 by Election Day. In 2008, it collected $803,000.

Mauricio Claver-Carone, the group's director, said contributions are down because of the standoff between the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate.

"Now the status quo is fine and we don't have to be as active," he said.

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