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Don’t look now, but the 2016 presidential campaign just shifted from the back burner into at least a low simmer on the front burner. Following President Obama’s announcement that the United States would establish diplomatic relations with the Cuban government, many 2016 presidential candidates quickly released some thoughts on the subject. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is on the record saying he thinks this is probably a good move and that, in his opinion, the embargo against the tiny island nation has not worked.

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Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants, has taken Paul to task over his stance. Report from the Daily Caller:

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio slammed fellow Republican Senator Rand Paul for his support of President Barack Obama’s Cuba policy, telling Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that Paul “has no idea what he’s talking about.”

KELLY: Senator Marco Rubio, your thoughts on Senator Rand Paul’s comments supporting the president?

RUBIO: Well, like many people that have hit on it, he has no idea what he’s talking about. And I’ll tell you why; number one, the embargo on Cuba is an embargo that frankly has a bunch of holes in it. To give you an example, the United States is still one of Cuba’s largest trading partners, even now with the embargo.

All sorts of commercial products and humanitarian products like food stuffs and other things are available in Cuba. Americans travel there all the time on what they call cultural exchanges. A bunch of Americans travel there, by the way, in violation of the embargo through third countries. Cuban-Americans can travel as many times as they want. they can send a lot of money back to Cuba to their relatives.

What’s hurting the Cuban people is not the embargo. What’s hurting the Cuban people is the Cuban government.

Thus, we have on display a sample of the foreign policy discussion that will take place during the 2016 Republican primary. On the one hand, Rand Paul is more libertarian in his views about America’s role in the world. Rubio, on the other hand, represents a more interventionist line of thinking which is held by a good portion of voters in the Republican Party.

Update

Paul responds, via Facebook:

Senator Marco Rubio believes the embargo against Cuba has been ineffective, yet he wants to continue perpetuating failed policies. After 50 years of conflict, why not try a new approach? The United States trades and engages with other communist nations, such as China and Vietnam. Why not Cuba? I am a proponent of peace through commerce, and I believe engaging Cuba can lead to positive change.

Seems to me, Senator Rubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism. Finally, let’s be clear that Senator Rubio does not speak for the majority of Cuban-Americans. A recent poll demonstrates that a large majority of Cuban-Americans actually support normalizing relations between our countries.

And so it begins…

28 COMMENTS

  1. Whenever I hear Rube-io quoted, I wonder why anyone bothered to quote him. Whenever I see Rube-io, I wonder how he ever got a chair at the “big people’s table.” He has all the gravitas of a middle schooler trying to argue weakly in current events class. He sounds like someone saying mommy and daddy don’t like Cuba, so that must be right. Lightweight. Frivolous.

    Rube-io is saying we should keep the embargo, BECAUSE it’s worthless. Dude.

    Rand Paul’s response–From Politico:

    “Senator Marco Rubio believes the embargo against Cuba has been
    ineffective, yet he wants to continue perpetuating failed policies.
    After 50 years of conflict, why not try a new approach?” the Kentucky
    senator said in a Facebook post.

    He
    continued, “Seems to me, Senator Rubio is acting like an isolationist
    who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject
    this isolationism. Finally, let’s be clear that Senator Rubio does not
    speak for the majority of Cuban-Americans.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/marco-rubio-rand-paul-cuba-113699.html#ixzz3MNGLqebv

    ——

    I imagine that Rand loved being able to call SOMEONE ELSE an “isolationist” for a change.

  2. In another thread, I said I thought the deal with Uruguay could lead other Latin American countries to take Gitmo victims off our hands. But in the above interview, Kelly brought up something much more interesting:

    http://www.foxnews.com/transcript/2014/12/19/sen-rubio-cuba-deal-will-imperil-national-security-us/

    “the treaty that was struck that allows us to control this portion of
    Cuba and put Gitmo there, the detention camp, says it may be modified if
    both governments — the Cuban government and the United States
    government agree. And when I’ve gone back and looked at the history of
    who can do the modification, we’ve had presidents unilaterally modify
    treaties without Congress.”

    –How about if we just end the lease for Gitmo and let the Cubans decide what happens with the remaining Gitmo inmates? Har.

    Kelly also added:

    “68 percent of the people in the most recent poll out of
    Florida International University say that they support what the
    president has done. They wanted this prior to it happening.”

    –That’s Florida, Occupied by Cubans. Imagine how much people elsewhere in America support ending the embargo!

  3. As I said earlier President Obama has to be one of the worst negotiators where we get one dissident and the Castro Bros. without doing anything get to do a victory lap. Does anyone else notice the similarity to him getting 1 deserter for three terrorist?
    Why is Sen. Paul attacking Sen. Rubio on the Cuba issue and coming across to Conservatives as giving cover for President Obama? By pointing the finger at Sen. Rubio as an isolationist does he really think any one of the 8 or more other republican candidates (especially the establishment wing of the party) are going to stop accusing him of being an isolationist during the campaign? Sen. Paul suggest that Sen. Rubio doesn’t talk for the majority of the Cuban people…is he suggesting he does? At least Se. Rubio has Cuban blood going thru his veins. Cuban-Americans answer for 8% of the primary vote in Florida and they have voted in a block vote the past two Presidential primaries. Gov. Romney won 57% of the Cuban- American vote in the last primary. It’s funny but Sen. Paul doesn’t give any source to back up his claim that Cuban-Americans don’t want the embargo. But Sen. Paul has “moderated ” his position in the past maybe he will see where moderation can correct “damage control”.
    The best reason I heard for President Obama lifting the embargo was President Clinton wanted to try out a new cigar.

    • Rand wasn’t saying he was “speaking for” the majority of Cubans. But while Rubio’s head is stuck in the 1960s, the Cuban community has moved on. Only Cubans over the age of 70 agree with Rubio.

      https://cri.fiu.edu/research/cuba-poll/

      The latest poll by the Cuban Research Institute, even Florida Cubans are against the embargo–even before Obama’s announcement:

      “A slight majority of the Cuban-American community in Miami-Dade County opposes continuing the U.S. embargo of Cuba. Countywide, 52% of the respondents oppose continuing the embargo. This percentage rises among Cuban Americans ages 18-29, 62% of whom oppose continuing the embargo. Similarly, 58% of those arriving since 1995 oppose continuing the embargo.

      “A large majority favors diplomatic relations with Cuba (68%), with younger respondents strongly backing the policy shift (90%).

      “A large majority of respondents (69%) favor the lifting of travel restrictions impeding all Americans from traveling to Cuba. Younger respondents overwhelmingly endorse this policy shift (89%), as do the most recent arrivals (80%). Approximately 58% of registered voters also favor unrestricted travel by all Americans.

      –AND, TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION ABOUT THE ELECTORAL IMPLICATIONS:

      “Registered voters were asked how likely they would be to vote for a candidate for political office who supported the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. Fifty-three percent responded they would be very likely or somewhat likely to do so. Younger voters expressed stronger support—75% in the 18–29 cohort.

      • Goethe:
        Interesting. I’ve also noticed in a number of the articles stating younger generation Cuban-Americans favor restoring relations they mention that their reasoning is “they could now get cigars and rum”. They have no concern for the politics or the treatment of the Cuban people but simply how they can benefit. This is hardly a foundation you would want to base your foreign relations on. There is quite a difference between the President Carter’s version of basing your foreign policy on “humanitarian aid” and “policing” where we have to send troops in and an embargo. In addition you can’t honestly base an argument on the fact of isolationism because the nine American presidents who enforced the embargo wasn’t based on them being isolationist. Now you are going to ask did the embargo work. There is little doubt the Castro Bros. political regime was on life support the same as President Obama. They were/ are two weakened leaders. But our leader has a way of bailing out dictators that are too big to fail. He did it with Manuel Zelaya, Hugo Chevez, Assad, and Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi. By lifting the embargo President Obama isn’t restoring freedom nor helping in any way the people of Cuba but the Dictators oppressing them.

        • We have discussed the feel good aspect of the United States renewing relations with Cuba but has anyone examined the cost of this exercise?

          Starting in January 2015 the Cuban government won’t require an exit visa to citizens traveling abroad. With the United States about to adjust to an influx of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS swarming our southern border we can now adjust to Cuban refugees as well. We give legal permanent residence status to any Cuban national that sets foot on our shores. Next we have to take in consideration that this past May Cuba and Russia concluded a mutual security cooperation agreement tie between the Cuban national Defense and the Russian Security Council. Russia has plans to conduct strategic nuclear bomber flights over the Gulf of Mexico and the Carribbiean sea with the help of Cuba and Venezuela. And lastly all the Americans who have shown mental trauma over the latest Senate torture report but cheer renewing relations with Cuba should be asked how they can justify this since the Castro Bros. and Che Guevara are two of the biggest practitioners of torture and firing squads.

          • Bob — apples and oranges on immigration, better yet description of your post, BALONEY!

            Dissecting your baloney post:

            1) Cuba has only 11 million population — if 20% come to USA, that means that only 2.2 million COMMIE HATING (thus NEVER to fall for the Democrat Party dogma) good people will come here.
            It also means that reducing Cuba’s work force by 20% will spell their UTTER COLLAPSE in a short spell! So, bye, bye Castros and communist Cuban gov!

            2) On the other hand — Mexico’s population is at 123,000,000 !!! If the same 20%, of Mexicans sneak in here ILLEGALLY, that would mean nearly 25 Million Illegal aliens will come here FOR FREE BENEFITS that the Dems provide to ALL ILLEGALS, thus THESE MEXICANS will become the Dems FOREVER voting block!

            Bob, I’m writing this in as simple English as I can for you — so, hopefully you’ll comprehend it…..

            • Surfisher:

              Perhaps you and Goethe should have a conversation. Goethe gives evidence that the older Cubans who are dying off are the ones against the renewed relations and the younger ones are for it thus they will vote Democrat. After all which party made it possible for them to come to America and Cuban -Americans to buy cigars and rum? You also neglect to take the effect on the economy, national defense nor the people of Cuba into any consideration. Naïve is as simply as I can express your views with a good dose of bias against anything I write sprinkled in.

            • Bob —

              I do not need to confer with Goethe — since we rarely agree. My posts stand on their own merit.

              Perhaps you should study Logic and basic Math, before posting what you think is clever, since you read it on a website ….

            • This advice about studying logic is coming from a deep thinker named “Surfisher”? You forget we know your “Tin Foil Hat” gibberish .

            • Bob — Beside studying Logic, don’t forget to brush up on your basic Math…since you are lacking that, too…..

              (11 million Cubans vs 123+ Million Mexicans…which nation numerically represents the bigger threat in Illegal Aliens…?)
              That’s math.

              Logic: Few Cubans separated by 90 miles of ocean, or Many, Many, Many Mexicans having a land border…?

              Enough said on your “intellectual” forte….

              Again, I’m posting this in simple terms, so that you may hopefully understand it…..

            • “I must judge for myself, but how can I judge, how can any man judge, unless his mind has been opened and enlarged by reading.”
              John Adams

    • He isn’t an isolationist. He is just wary of intervention with no/unclear goals. Here he agrees with Obama that if you do the same thing for 50+ years and accomplish nothing, perhaps you should gradually change your policy. I find that rational and intelligent. Rubio is quoting his grandparents’ opinions. Opening up Cuba to world commerce (carefully) is likely to also open up personal freedoms for its people over a period of time. Worth a try…..

    • Bob — Rand and Ron Paul understand it better than you do, kid!

      Why are you trying to put down the only Libertarian that can win the US Presidency…some perverse joy of yours…?!

      • Surfisher:
        Sen. Paul strikes me as someone who will say anything the group he is standing in front of wants to hear. I’ve done the same thing with establishment republicans and the left. My “put downs’ as you call them have/will involve anyone I believe deserves this scrutiny.

        • Bob — so, instead of lauding the only viable Libertarian, you put him down just to show off how observant and clever you are…?

          Why not save your “put down” ammunition for the scumbags that deserve it, and use your intellect to further the cause of Rand Paul? Or, do you know of a secret libertarian candidate that may possibly have the slightest chance of winning?

          Instead of finding it sardonically fantastic (when the Main Stream Media erroneously portray Rand and Ron as “isolationists”) that Rand Paul got to call Rubio one instead?!

          Game, set, match — Rand Paul.

          That’s how you build up the only Libertarian that can win.
          Or are you here just chinning, and not caring if our nation goes down the drain…?

          • “Or are you just gossiping here, and not caring if our nation goes down the drain….?”
            We are finishing up a President who wasn’t vetted one ounce on his abilities or experience to hold the office of President. To add to their inexperience both the President and Sen. Paul were/are ONE TERM SENATORS. There is nothing wrong in seeking a little consistency on principles and beliefs rather than hasten the whirlpool down the drain.

            • Bob — nicely worded spiel.

              And that’s all it is. Equating Socialist raised Obama with Libertarian raised Rand Paul on the singular issue that they both are/were one term senators is not only disingenuous, but ludicrous.

              “…dire lack of political experience…” on Rand Paul’s part…? When he held the most successful in US History FILIBUSTER on Obama’s drones …?!

              Bob, you are either clueless, or the zionist I spotted you to be from the very beginning — knowing that Rand as President will cut off Foreign Aid to most foreign nations (and your precious Israel will be on that list).

              Anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS, Bob!

  4. In defense of Rand Paul, he is not a total isolationist…he is a student of history

    In April 1898, American forces (Teddy Roosevelt and San Juan Hill) intervened in Cuba’s
    three-year-old struggle for independence, thus transforming the Cuban War of
    Independence into the Spanish-American War. American officials then excluded the Cuban
    Army from the armistice and denied Cuba a seat at the Paris peace conference. President William McKinley named General Leonard Wood, as military governor of Cuba, and at the conference, the Platt
    Amendment went into effect. Cuba was given a choice: one guaranteed the United States the right to intervene at will in Cuban affairs; two guaranteed the United States the right to sell or lease naval stations on Cuban soil. The Cubans took number two which gave the United States the Guantanamo area on a questionable lease. President Theodore Roosevelt, signed the initial lease enabling the US to contribute to the defense of Cuba through the maintenance of “coaling and naval stations.” A key element of this agreement was the passing to the United States of “complete jurisdiction and control over and within said areas, the rent being two thousand dollars in gold each year.” Cuba has not cashed any lease checks from the United States since 1960. This was one of the major motivations used for the 1959 Revolution which brought Fidel Castro into power.

    The United Nations will soon vote on whether the United States embargo on Cuba is a sound policy. The annual, nonbinding vote should tell Washington something. Last year, only Israel voted with the United States.

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