President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba is meeting bipartisan resistance on Capitol Hill:
Republicans, and even some Democrats, pushed back strongly, with some GOP heavy hitters calling Obama’s plan “another concession to tyranny.”
“These changes will lead to legitimacy for a government that shamelessly continuously abuses human rights but it will not lead to assistance for those whose rights are being abused,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Wednesday.
“It’s absurd and it’s part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants,” Rubio told Fox News, claiming the administration is “constantly giving away unilateral concessions … in exchange for nothing.” Rubio called Obama the “worst negotiator” the U.S. has had as president “since at least Jimmy Carter.” He also said Congress would not support lifting the embargo.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also criticized the administration’s plan to change the current U.S. relationship with Cuba. McConnell said he defers to Rubio on the matter.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who, like Rubio, is a Cuban-American lawmaker, said this is a moment of “profound relief” for Gross and his family. But he voiced concerns that this constituted a “swap of convicted spies for an innocent American.”
There’s been an ongoing and bipartisan failure to reexamine our trade embargo with Cuba, due entirely to domestic politics — which is supposed to stop at the water’s edge. (Admittedly it’s been a long time since that was true, if ever.) The right time to have begun the process was approximately 11 seconds after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when Cuba ceased having any geopolitical relevance to much of anyone. But three administrations — Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43 — refused to do more than tinker around the edges of an outmoded, outdated, and probably self-defeating policy.
So now change has been left up to the one Administration we can count on to somehow screw it up.