Tags: Lindsey Graham | ambassador to Cuba

Graham: Ambassador to Cuba Has 'Snowball's Chance in Hell' of Confirmation

By    |   Sunday, 21 December 2014 02:14 PM

President Barack Obama may have opened relations again with Cuba, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday, but that doesn't mean there will be an ambassador confirmed for Havana, if he has any say about it.

"When it comes to funding any embassy in Cuba, I'll be the chairman of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee [next year]" Graham insisted to CBS "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer. "I will do everything I can to limit the size and stake of this embassy because you are rewarding people who kidnap Americans and who really are still Communists in every way."

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Further, said Graham, Cuban leader Raul Castro and his brother, Fidel, before him, "are terrible dictators who deserve no engagement. They deserve to be condemned and isolated,"

And as for ambassadors, Graham said, "if you are being an offered an ambassadorship to Cuba, turn it down, because you don't have a snowball's chance in Hell of getting confirmed, [as] Congress will not enforce that."

And even though there are some who argue that Cuba will be a good place for American commerce, Graham quipped that North Korea would also be a great place to sell items, as "they don't have anything."

But when the United States engages a country, "we do so with our moral voice, not just cigars and rum," said Graham.

Over the past 50 years, while the embargo has been in place, "Cuba's gone from being an interventionist communist power to Angola to back-water poor dictatorship," said Graham, and "without any reason" the United States changed its policies.

He noted that there is not one example in which Cuba has become any more democratic over the years, and the Castros should not be rewarded for their behavior over the years.

Further, Graham believes Cuba "represents everything that threatens us and who we are."

Just last year, the Castro regime was shipping arms to North Korea, in violation of embargoes, said Graham, and while the United States believes in freedom and democracy, Cuba "practices totalitarian Communism in our back yard."

The United States should also be concerned about worldwide reaction to Obama's announcement on Cuba, particularly from Iran, which he said is watching while talks continue about the country's nuclear capabilities.

"I can only imagine what the ayatollahs in Iran must be saying when our president called the North Korean attack on our way of life, not just a movie, vandalism, and when he reaches out to a Communist dictatorship that has done nothing to change," said Graham. "They must be feeling pretty good about their chances to negotiate a deal with America."

Graham continued that Obama must take a hard stance when it comes to dealing with North Korea and the hacking attacks on Sony Pictures over its movie "The Interview." The studio pulled the film, which was to debut on Christmas Day, after the cyber-attacks and after threats came in about terrorism attacks occurring if the film is released.

Obama, said Graham, should "make it so hard on the North Koreans that they don't want to do this."

This should include imposing the sanctions on North Korea that were lifted by former President George W. Bush, and by returning the Communist country onto the international terrorism list.

"It's not a movie, it's our way of life," said Graham. It's the right of companies to "make a product and receive a product," he said, and event to produce something that is edgy.

"They attacked who we are," said Graham. "When the president called this an act of vandalism that just really bothers me greatly. It is an act of terrorism and I hope we respond forcefully because the Iranians are watching everything this man does."

But Graham said he is not talking about military action or taking away their "First Amendment, because they don't have one."

Instead, he wants North Korea put into a spot where "they are diminished beyond where they are today."

He also called for consulting with China, because "without China, there is no North Korea."

The next attack could come on the United States' power plants, financial institutions or more if action isn't taken, the senator claimed.

"This is the first act of warfare that's really gotten a lot of attention," said Graham. "How the president handles this is very important.

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President Barack Obama may have opened relations again with Cuba, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday, but that doesn't mean there will be an ambassador confirmed for Havana, if he has any say about it.
Lindsey Graham, ambassador to Cuba
Sunday, 21 December 2014 02:14 PM
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