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Tags: Trump Administration | Barack Obama | Castro-Cuba | Cuba | Donald Trump | GOP2016 | Ted Cruz

Trump, Cruz Slam Obama's Cuba Visit

Trump, Cruz Slam Obama's Cuba Visit

By    |   Sunday, 20 March 2016 06:03 PM

The two top Republican presidential candidates slammed President Barack Obama's visit to Cuba Sunday, the first time a sitting American president has visited the island nation since 1928.

Trump took to Twitter to bash Cuban President Raul Castro for not welcoming President Barack Obama at the airport in Havana.

Trump tweeted that Castro showed "no respect" for Obama.



Trump has said if elected president he would try to negotiate a better deal with Cuba, but has also said he's "fine" with the U.S. pursuing a new approach.

CNN reported that the political situation might be tricky for Castro, with many in the communist country still vilifying the United States for its five-decade trade embargo.

Castro makes relatively few public appearances. But Castro did greet Pope Francis on arrival during a September trip to Cuba and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill last month.

Castro is set to meet with Obama Monday.

Meanwhile, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump's main rival for the GOP nomination, is the son of a Cuban father who fled the Batista regime.

Cruz opposes Obama's policy and criticized him on Twitter and in an opinion piece for Politico in which he accused Obama of turning his back on political dissidents in Cuba.

Cruz tweeted out link to his essay with a message to Cuban:




More than 50 dissidents were arrested just ahead of Air Force One's landing in Cuba.

"[P]olitical prisoners languishing in dungeons across the island will hear this message: Nobody has your back. You’re alone with your tormentors. The world has forgotten about you," Cruz wrote at Politico.

"They will not be on TV, rubbing elbows with the Obamas or left-wing politicians like Nancy Pelosi," Cruz wrote. "There will be no mojitos at the U.S. Embassy for them. Raul Castro denies their very existence."

Cruz compared the situation to that of former Soviet political prisoner Natan Sharansky who was in the Gulag when President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union "the evil empire" in 1983.

"Afterward he said, 'It was the brightest, most glorious day ... our whole block burst out into a kind of loud celebration,'" Cruz wrote. "This is why it is so sad, and so injurious to our future as well as Cuba’s, that Obama has chosen to legitimize the corrupt and oppressive Castro regime with his presence on the island."

Christianity Today columnist Ed Stetzer and conservative pundits Kathleen McKinley and Todd Starnes weighed in as well.









Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton noted that Obama's visit caused crackdowns on dissidents.

"Now, on the eve of the president’s misguided trip to Cuba, the Castro regime arrested Elizardo Sanchez, a leading and peaceful human-rights activist with whom President Obama was scheduled to meet during his trip," Cotton said.

Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik said a U.S. president should not have visited Cuba until it returns four fugitives from the U.S. justice system it has been harboring who are responsible for the deaths of police officers, members of the military and civilians.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Headline
The two top Republican presidential candidates slammed President Barack Obama's visit to Cuba Sunday, the first time a sitting American president has visited the island nation since 1928.
Obama, Cuba, The Latest
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2016-03-20
Sunday, 20 March 2016 06:03 PM
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