Aisle-crossing Flake sole Republican favoring lifting embargo on Communist isle
Credited as key players in brokering a secret prisoner exchange and working to normalizing relations with the oppressive Communist dictatorship of Cuba were Democrat Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.). U.S. Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) were also involved with negotiating the Cuba deal, at the urging of the Obama White House..
The stand alone Republican in this mix is none other than Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.
U.S. contractor Alan Gross was swapped for three Cubans jailed in the United States for spying. Gross worked on Van Hollen’s first campaign.
“When I visited Alan last month, he expressed the hope that his ordeal might somehow lead to positive changes between the United States and Cuba,” Flake enthused Wednesday. “With today’s significant and far-reaching announcements, I think it already has.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, (R-Fla), whose parents are Cuban immigrants, summed up Obama’s overreach in normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba with this statement: “At a minimum Barack Obama is the worst negotiator we’ve had as president since at least Jimmy Carter, and maybe in the modern history of this country,” he said on Fox News. “The issue that I care about in Cuba is democracy. Nothing that is happening here will further that cause.”
Noting he was glad Gross would be reunited with his family, Rubio added that the exchange for three spies sets a “very dangerous precedent.” He said, “It puts a price on every American abroad. Governments now know that if they take an American hostage, they can get very significant concessions from the U.S.”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, was no happier. “President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.” Menendez said that exchanging Gross for “three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips.” Read his contemptuous statement. Menendez is also of Cuban heritage.
Obama earlier lifted some travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans and allowed former Cuban nationals living in the U.S. to send remittances (U.S. dollars) to family members still in Cuba.
The U.S. Department of State has had Cuba on the terror watch list since 1982.
Now Obama’s advisors have announced he will attend the Summit of the Americas in Panama —- a conference Cuban dictator/President Raul Castro will also attend.
The U.S. embargo against the Communist regime 90 miles from our shore, has been in effect since 1960.
We previously posted Jeff Flake would be term-limited in his beloved Cuba Check it out.