The Obama administration is paving the way to diplomatic ties with Cuba that could likely result in the end of the American embargo that has been in place since the island nation’s communist revolution.
Building on earlier easing of sanctions in 2011, this latest move started with negotiations to resolve the release of Alan Gross, an American convicted of espionage by the Cuban government and held in custody for the last five years. In exchange the United States has agreed to release the last three of the “Cuban Five”, who were convicted of espionage for spying on anti-Castro groups in Miami.
President Obama stated his intention to reopen a U.S. embassy in Havana and lift many trade restrictions on Cuba, but a complete lift on America’s embargo would require congressional action.
There are two particularly loud voices in opposition to the latest action by Obama to ingratiate himself with world leaders that he has power-envy for. Coincidently, they are both of Cuban descent. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Both are also particularly suspicious of the timing, as this could potentially work out to the advantage of Cuba’s communist regime in the middle of economic hardship. Cruz said on Hannity:
President Obama stepped in and threw an economic lifeline, and that presents a serious danger to our national security.
Rubio put it in perspective this way:
This is going to do absolutely nothing to further human rights and democracy in Cuba. But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.
They also expressed concern once again for the precedence set by this president and the long-term consequences for American citizens as well as drew comparisons of this exchange with that of the swap for Army soldier, Bowe Bergdahl.
Senator Rubio did concede that at this stage there is very little congress or the senate can do, as much of the action taken thus far do fall within the purview of the executive office. But he mentioned options available going into 2015 including not approving funding for an embassy in Havana and refusing to confirm an ambassador to Cuba.