Tags: Cuba | Cuba Lobby | politicians | DC

Cuba Lobby Aims for DC Influence: 5 Politicians Most Closely Linked to Cuba

By    |   Saturday, 14 Nov 2015 11:51 PM

The "Cuba Lobby" is the unofficial name for several politicians and other influencers who maintain a hard-line policy against Cuba. The Cuba Lobby does not want to restore diplomatic ties or ease restrictions on the country until it improves its human rights record.

At both the federal and state levels, politicians from both parties are aligned with this group and actively work to require Cuba change its ways before the United States agrees to restore relations with the Communist country.

The following eight politicians have close ties to the Cuba Lobby.

Vote Now: Should the US End the Embargo Against Cuba?

1. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, has served in the U.S. Senate since 2011. Prior to that, he served as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. He is by far one of the most well known and outspoken critics of Cuba and of attempts to normalize relations between it and the U.S. In 2014, Rubio threatened to block President Barack Obama's attempt to establish an embassy in Cuba, CNN reported.

2. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.
Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2002. In a commentary for Time magazine, he also criticized the Obama administration's talks with Cuba and decision to remove Cuba from the list of governments that sponsor terrorism, saying "All eight Cuban-American senators and congressmen from both sides of the aisle strongly disagree with him. One would think that he might consult with us."

3. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.
Born in Cuba, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and her family fled Cuba and moved to the U.S. when she was 8 years old. Foreign Policy magazine names Ros-Lehtinen as one of three politicians that make up what it calls the Cuba Lobby's congressional contingent, a group that also includes Rubio and Diaz-Balart. Ros-Lehtinen called the Obama administration's deal "irresponsible" and "misguided" in a commentary for The Washington Times.

4. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas
Cruz, whose father is a Cuban exile, is the first Hispanic or Cuban-American to serve as a senator from Texas. He has served in Congress since 2012, and in March 2015 he announced plans to run in the 2016 presidential election. The website Politico quoted Cruz as saying of Obama's stance toward Cuba: "America is, in effect, writing the check that will allow the Castro's to follow Vladimir Putin's playbook of repression."

Vote Here: Is the US Trade Embargo With Cuba Good or Bad?

5. Senator Robert Menendez, D-N.J.
Senator Robert Menendez, D-N.J., has served in the Senate since 2006 and is the senior senator from New Jersey. He has served on several Senate committees, including as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Following Obama's efforts to restore U.S.-Cuba relations, Menendez said in a statement "President Obama's actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government," as reported by The Huffington Post.

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The Cuba Lobby is the unofficial name for several politicians and other influencers who maintain a hard-line policy against Cuba. The Cuba Lobby does not want to restore diplomatic ties or ease restrictions on the country until it improves its human rights record.
Cuba Lobby, politicians, DC
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2015-51-14
Saturday, 14 Nov 2015 11:51 PM
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