Rubio, others want Trump to ditch Obama efforts to improve U.S.-Cuba
By Doug G. Ware | Updated Nov. 17, 2016 at 7:42 AM
WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) — As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to
move into the White House, Republicans have rattled off a list of Obama
administration projects they want overturned, including scaling back
relations with Cuba.
In recent days, GOP lawmakers have mentioned a host of items they want
Trump to jump on — from President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare
law to the Iran nuclear pact to the next Supreme Court justice.
Now, throw Cuba into the mix.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., once a Trump rival for the GOP nomination for
president, said Tuesday he’s hoping the controversial billionaire will
act quickly and scrap Obama’s efforts to improve the long-frigid
diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Obama’s administration began working to improve U.S.-Cuba relations many
months ago, producing a number of results — including renewed business
access and passenger travel between both nations, and an easing of U.S.
sanctions against the Caribbean country. In March, Obama also became the
first sitting president to visit Cuba in 88 years.
The new working relationship is a far cry from the decades of radio
silence, political confrontation and military saber-rattling that
defined U.S.-Cuban diplomacy during the Cold War.
Now, though, it seems that some in the Republican Party might view those
as the good ol’ days.
“By any objective measure, President Obama’s unilateral policy changes
have failed, and they are not in the best interest of the American
people or the people of Cuba,” the junior senator said in a statement
Tuesday. “Rolling back President Obama’s one-sided concessions to the
Castro regime, a key campaign promise shared with President-elect Trump,
will be a top priority for me next year.”
Rubio introduced a resolution in September to honor Cuban dissident
Guillermo “Coco” Fariñas, who has opposed the Cuban regime of Raul
Castro. Another prominent Republican, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, joined Rubio
in the measure.
Rubio, who met with Fariñas in Washington on Wednesday, isn’t alone in
opposing improved relations with Cuba. A good number of Cuban-Americans
are also against rekindling ties with what they view as an oppressive
government that has a poor track record on human rights.
“I have faith that President Trump will be better for the people of Cuba
and press the cause of freedom and democracy,” Fariñas told Fox News.
“Let’s just say no one can possibly be worse than Barack Obama has been
for our cause.”
During his campaign, Trump said he planned to revoke Obama’s executive
orders regarding Cuba unless Castro’s regime took steps to make
substantial reforms on human rights.
The Cuban-American National Foundation, an organization that opposes
Castro and calls for a free Cuba, said in September that there will be
no investment in Cuba without major reforms.
“Despite the U.S. government’s efforts to promote a better environment
for U.S. investments in Cuba and direct engagement with the Cuban
people, a multitude of American investors have gone to Cuba and realized
that the current economic model is not conducive to foreign investment
or trade,” CANF said. “There exists no possibility of meaningful,
economic investment in Cuba or the achievement of sustainable
development until there are deep structural reforms; reforms that the
Castro government has refused to undertake.”
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., a supporter of Hillary Clinton, said he is
also curious to see what Trump will do on this issue.
Source: Rubio, others hope Trump will ditch Obama efforts to improve
U.S.-Cuba relations – UPI.com –