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Cuba PAC Supporting End to Embargo Sets Fundraising Record

MIAMI -- Nearly $350,000 were raised in seven months by the New Cuba PAC, a political action committee formed in May 2015, that supports federal candidates in favor of ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba.

They have continued fundraising during the month of January and are now well over $350,000.

Some of those who oppose lifting the 54 year-old embargo on Cuba argue the U.S. should use it as leverage to negotiate with Cuba and gain more concessions from the island.

President Obama Urges Lift of Embargo on Cuba 2:43

Ric Herrero, co-director of the New Cuba PAC says that by lifting the embargo "we would be doing a lot more to help empower people and put them in a better position to demand changes from their own government."

Some of the contributors who donated the maximum $5,000 allowed include health care magnate and top Jeb Bush backer, Mike Fernandez; former Secretary of Commerce under George W. Bush, Carlos Gutierrez; President of the Miami Heat, Pat Riley and tech-pioneer Manny Medina.

Another notable name, Eduardo Mestre, whose father and uncle owned radio stations in pre-revolutionary Cuba and launched the first major television network on the island, also donated $5,000.

"I think it's worth noting that over half of them are Cuban-Americans. And that shows the seismic shift the community has experienced in recent years," according to Herrero.

The Marriott International hotels group also donated to the group.

"As we enter 2016, we will do all that we can to support candidates and elected officials working towards ending the embargo, which will ultimately benefit both U.S. citizens and the Cuban people," according to James Williams, co-director of the New Cuba PAC.

It's worth noting the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, which opposes lifting the U.S. embargo on Cuba, raised $214,322 during the first 6 months of 2015, according to their mid-year filing with the Federal Election Commission. The full 2015 filing is due on February 1st.

According to the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC website, the Castro regime would be the major beneficiary if the embargo were lifted. They promote an unconditional transition in Cuba to democracy, the rule of law, and the free market,

"Cuba's tourism and trade sectors are completely state-owned or operated through joint ventures with corporations established by, and under the supervision of, the Cuban Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (MINFAR) and the Ministry of the Interior (MININT)," the website states.

Although most U.S. trade with Cuba remains banned under the embargo, President Barack Obama's administration announced Tuesday it would ease restrictions on American financing of exports to the island. It has also relaxed the limits on shipping products. Since the historic thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba, Obama has been using executive authority to allow commerce that is not specifically banned by Congress.

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