Tags: Barack Obama | Castro-Cuba | Rand Paul | Cuba | travel | ban | Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul Backs 'Opening Up to Cuba'

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Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 10:52 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Fewer than 24 hours after his office said he had no statement on President Barack Obama's historic change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that "the 50-year embargo obviously hasn't worked" and "I think opening up to Cuba is probably a good idea."

The Kentucky Republican revealed his position in a radio interview with Tom Roten of News Talk 800 WHVU in Huntington, West Virginia.

Paul is so far the lone 2016 Republican presidential hopeful not to denounce Obama's decision to reopen diplomatic relations with Havana and end the travel ban of Americans to Cuba. However, he stopped short of endorsing the Obama policy and took pains to explain that his own view of the Cuban situation was more nuanced.

Paul's particular area of disagreement with Obama was that of lifting the trade embargo. He wants a quid pro quo: namely, for the Castro brothers to relinquish power in Havana after 55 years.

Whereas Obama has said nothing about Raul Castro remaining in power as Cuba's Communist president, Paul said in a separate interview with Iowa radio talk show host John Mickelson that "you would be hoping they would open up and allow for elections. There's always been talk about beginning trade again, but in exchange for actually having elections in Cuba."

Paul added his view that "the other thing that goes into this is that if you're negotiating to open up trade, you would expect something on their side of the coin. They would be opening up the ability of their citizens to have communication with us — that's part of trade, communication."

The freshman senator took to the airwaves to spell out his position on Cuba a day after Newsmax asked at the White House whether Obama had reached out to Paul, noting he has yet to "take a position on lifting the embargo or issue a statement on the new [Cuban] policy."

"Interesting," replied White House press secretary Josh Earnest. "Well, I assume you all will be asking him about that."

Following Earnest's reply to our question, Paul spokesman Sergio Gor told Newsmax that the senator "had no reaction to the new Cuban policy."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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Fewer than 24 hours after his office said he had no statement on President Obama's historic change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday "the 50-year embargo obviously hasn't worked" and "I think opening up to Cuba is probably a good idea."
Cuba, travel, ban, Rand Paul, trade, embargo, embassy
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2014-52-18
Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 10:52 PM
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