A majority of US voters approve of President Barack Obama’s normalizing relations with Cuba, including 55 percent who want the United States to end its 56-year-old trade embargo against the island nation, according to a new CBS/New York Times poll released on Monday.

As Obama arrived in Cuba on Sunday for a two-day visit, becoming the first sitting US president to visit the country in 88 years, he enjoyed broad public support in the United States for improving ties between the two nations. That support includes a majority who believe the US trade embargo against Cuba should end.

“While diplomacy may have resumed, the embargo against Cuba remains in effect,” a press release accompanying the poll explained. “Fifty-five percent of Americans favor the United States ending its trade embargo against Cuba.”

But on a related issue, 52 percent of US voters oppose Obama’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center housing suspected and actual terrorists, located on the eastern edge of Cuba. They say the detention facility should remain open.

On Monday morning, Obama was scheduled to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro in Cuba’s Palace of the Revolution, where they are expected to discuss issues that continue to divide the two nations and chart a path for continued improvement of bilateral relations.


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