PAC founder Albert Fox of Tampa said he cut down on fund raising this year because of Obama’s failure to do more to improve relations with Cuba. But he acknowledged that the anti-sanctions side always has more problems raising money
Hugo Cancio, a Miami music promoter and member of the PAC’s board of directors, said polls show a majority of Cuban Americans favor unlimited travel and remittances to the island. But they are not engaged in the U.S. political process because “they came from Cuba in more recent years, looking for the American dream.”
The FEC reports show Aruca also donated $5,000 to the current campaign of Garcia, a Miami Democrat who is running against Rep. David Rivera, R-Fl., an anti-Castro hardliner. Aral gave $2,000 to Garcia and $10,000 to the Obama reelection campaign.
The Cuba Property Rights PAC, created last year to create public awareness on the issue of the private properties nationalized by the Castro government, has raised $8,100, with two donations alone totalling $5,000.
The lone heavyweight Cuba PAC active the year is the pro-sanctions United States-Cuba Democracy, which has made large contributions to more than 100 congressional candidates, including $10,000 to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Executive director Mauricio Claver-Carone said the PAC will report to the FEC by the end of this month that it has raised about $500,000, and hopes to hit a target of $650,000 to $700,000 for the 2012 electoral season.
Although its donors include wealthy Miami car dealer Gus Machado and restaurant owner Felipe Vals, Claver-Carone added that the PAC receives tens of thousands of small donations through its musical fund-raisers — unlike anti-sanctions groups that usually depend on a handful of large donations.
Established in 2003, the PAC collected more money in 2006 and 2008 — $828,000 and $803,000, respectively — because the Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress in those campaigns and were pushing hard to ease sanctions on Cuba, Claver-Carone noted.
With Republicans now controlling the House and Democrats controlling the Senate, he added, “now the status quo is fine and we don’t have to be as active.”
An earlier version of this story gave the wrong date for the November presidential elections.