Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rubio pledges to block ambassador to Cuba

Rubio pledges to block ambassador to Cuba
By Mark Hensch

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) marked the first anniversary of restored
diplomatic ties with Cuba by reiterating his opposition to anyone
nominated to be U.S. ambassador to Havana.

"A U.S. ambassador is not going to influence the Cuban government, which
is a dictatorial, closed regime," he said in an interview published
Wednesday by Politico.

Rubio said he empathizes with everyday Cubans who hope better relations
with the U.S. can improve their nation.
"[Cubans have] been living in this trap for close to 60 years, and
they're hoping some new dynamic will change things. I understand it. I do."

The U.S. and Cuba officially restored ties on July 20, 2015, after more
than five decades of tensions. But President Obama has yet to nominate
anyone to serve as ambassador.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), meanwhile, said in the Politico article that
opponents cannot fight changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba forever.

"Once the new president nominates an ambassador you can't just say we're
going to sit on that and hold that," he said.

"There are going to be too many Americans traveling to Cuba and doing
legal business in Cuba to deny them the opportunity to have a
full-fledged diplomatic presence there."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last year that the
upper chamber is unlikely to approve anyone Obama nominates as the U.S.
ambassador to Cuba.

"I'm having a hard time figuring out what we got out of this, you know?"
he said on July 2, 2015, according to The Associated Press.

"You would think that the normalization of relations with Cuba would be
accompanied by some modification of their behavior," McConnell added
during a speech before Kentucky's chamber of commerce.

"I don't see any evidence at all that they are going to change their
behavior. So I doubt if we'll confirm an ambassador. They probably don't
need one."

Source: Rubio pledges to block ambassador to Cuba | TheHill -

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