Herald.com Posted on Thu, May. 26, 2005 BY NANCY SAN MARTIN. WASHINGTON.
Cubans living in the United States still send an estimated $460 million a year to relatives on the island despite restrictions tightened by the Bush administration last summer, according to a poll released by a Coral Gables firm Wednesday.
But a portion of the Cubans on the island who receive the cash transfers believe they are getting less money, according to a separate and less scientific survey conducted inside the island by a Washington-based think tank.
The assumption: That Fidel Castro's government is taking a bigger bite of the remittances, one of the key sources of income in an island where the economy was devastated by the 1990s collapse of Soviet subsidies.
''Now that it is clear to them how much money is arriving, [the Cuban government] is now getting a higher and higher percentage of that money,'' said pollster Sergio Bendixen of Bendixen & Associates.
The results of the Bendixen survey, presented during a forum at the think tank Inter-American Dialogue, indicate that 69 percent of respondents continue to send the same amount of money as before President Bush tightened restrictions on remittances to Cuba last June as part of a larger effort to keep U.S. dollars out of the government coffers and hasten a transition to democracy....