US lawmakers furious over Obama's Cuba move

2014-12-17 21:12
US President Barack Obama. (AFP)

US President Barack Obama. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Some Republican and Democratic lawmakers expressed outrage Wednesday over Washington's historic Cuba breakthrough, saying President Barack Obama conceded "everything" to a brutal Castro regime and warning Congress will block efforts to lift the trade embargo.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio blasted Obama's deal with Cuban counterpart Raul Castro as naive and "inexplicable", and said it would only push back the day the communist-ruled island ultimately shifts to democracy.

"The White House has conceded everything and gained little," a visibly fuming Rubio, who is Cuban American, told reporters.

Rubio expects to be the new chair of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Western hemisphere affairs, and said he anticipates a "very interesting couple of years" getting a US ambassador confirmed to Havana and an embassy funded.

"I intend to use every tool at our disposal in the majority to unravel as many of these changes as possible," Rubio said of Obama's moves, which include an ease of travel restrictions.

Asked how Congress will act on lifting half a century of economic restrictions on Cuba, Rubio stood firm: "This Congress is not going to lift the embargo."

House Speaker John Boehner also castigated Obama for offering Cuba the latest in "a long line of mindless concessions to a dictatorship that brutalises its people and schemes with our enemies".

"If anything, this emboldens all state sponsors of terrorism."

Criticism came from Democrats as well, with Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairperson Robert Menendez saying Obama's actions "have vindicated the brutal behaviour of the Cuban government".

Menendez dismissed in particular the prisoner swap that freed a Cuban who spied for Washington in exchange for three convicted Cuban spies, and also saw the release on humanitarian grounds of American Alan Gross after five years imprisoned in Cuba.

"This asymmetrical trade will invite further belligerence toward Cuba's opposition movement and the hardening of the government's dictatorial hold on its people."

Three US lawmakers, including veteran US Senator Patrick Leahy, flew to Cuba to bring Gross home on Wednesday.

Leahy warned against those who "cling to a failed policy" of isolation.

"That would serve neither the interests of the United States and its people, nor of the Cuban people," the senator said. "It is time for a change."

Read more on:    barack obama  |  cuba  |  us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.