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Yesterday, President Obama announced that the U.S. will be normalizing relations with Cuba after years of isolating that country with an embargo. Since politicians are never supposed to change anything or do anything worthwhile to change the world, this was met with immediate criticism from the GOP. And even though His Holiness, Pope Francis, helped in negotiations with Cuba from a humanitarian point of view, Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida, immediately criticized the plan because his knee jerked towards the White House; then he had a long, cool drink of water while rightwing heads exploded all over the country. This is really the moment that Rubio has been waiting for - a rush to the bully pulpit on the way to his own presidential bid. But GOP and Rubio may be on the wrong side of history again, as they are on the immigration issue.
From the White House Fact Sheet on Cuba:
FACT SHEET: Charting a New Course on Cuba
Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people. We are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cubans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba.
It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba has isolated the United States from regional and international partners, constrained our ability to influence outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere, and impaired the use of the full range of tools available to the United States to promote positive change in Cuba. Though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, it has had little effect – today, as in 1961, Cuba is governed by the Castros and the Communist party.
We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse. We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state. With our actions today, we are calling on Cuba to unleash the potential of 11 million Cubans by ending unnecessary restrictions on their political, social, and economic activities. In that spirit, we should not allow U.S. sanctions to add to the burden of Cuban citizens we seek to help.
Today, we are renewing our leadership in the Americas. We are choosing to cut loose the anchor of the past, because it is entirely necessary to reach a better future – for our national interests, for the American people, and for the Cuban people.
Senator Rubio criticizes Evil Tyrant Obama, via Tampa Bay Times
"This president is the single worst negotiator we have had in the White House in my lifetime," Rubio said, contending Obama "has basically given the Cuban government everything it asked for and received no assurances of any advances of democracy and freedom."
Rubio deemed it a victory for the "oppressive Cuban government" and "another concession to a tyranny" by the Obama administration. The president, he said, let the Cuban people down. He used words like "absurd" and "disgraceful and "outrageous." He vowed to do whatever possible to block the moves.
"This Congress is not going to lift the embargo," said Rubio, who will chair the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere when Congress reconvenes in January.
Rubio also blamed Pope Francis for his role in negotiations, which proves once again that no good deed goes unpunished:
Via Politicus USA
“My understanding is that the influence that His Holiness had was on the release of Mr. [Alan] Gross, which I’ve not criticized. As I said, I’m happy that he’s with the Cuban people [sic]. I would also ask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy, which is critical for a free people — for a people to truly be free. I think the people of Cuba deserve the same chances to have democracy as the people of Argentina have had, where he comes from; as the people of Italy have, where he now lives. Obviously the Vatican’s its own state, but very nearby. My point is I hope that people with that sort of prestige on the world stage will take up the cause of freedom and democracy. The Cuban people are the only people in this hemisphere that have not been able to elect a leader in more than 55 or 60 years. That’s outrageous.”
RT @sahilkapur: Rubio on the Pope: "I would also ask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom & democracy" || Pope to Rubio: You first.— David Waldman (@KagroX) December 17, 2014
New Hillary statement backs O on Cuba. But in her book, she went further, saying she pushed for lifting embargo: http://t.co/GnyGgE6zyE— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) December 18, 2014