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Democrats try to break GOP lock on Cuban vote by opposing US trade embargo against Havana

Florida Cuba Politics-1.jpg

FILE -This May 21, 2014 file photo shows Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist campaigning in Orlando, Fla. Recently, campaigning in Miami's Little Havana, Crist stood before a crowd and said what few politicians have in decades of scrounging for votes in the Cuban-American neighborhood: end the trade embargo against Cuba. “If you really care about people on the island, we need to get rid of the embargo and let freedom reign,” he said, shouting above a small band of protesters who responded with chants of “Shame on you!” Crist’s supporters cheered louder. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) (The Associated Press)

As Charlie Crist campaigns for Florida governor, the Democrat is calling for an end to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

He's bucking decades of political orthodoxy in the largest swing-voting state.

For years, politicians have been careful about what they say about the issue. That's out of fear of alienating Florida's powerful Cuban-American voters. Many of them fled Fidel Castro's Cuba.

But Democrats, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, see an opening with newer Cuban arrivals and second-generation Cuban-Americans who favor resuming diplomatic relations.

Republicans and some Democrats say the efforts are a betrayal of the Cuban-American community.

Crist's campaign will be the first statewide test of whether the trade restrictions are still a live wire for Florida politicians.

The outcome could help reshape American foreign policy and Florida's political landscape.