Can Obama Act Alone On Cuba

While some believe today’s actions toward Cuba are within the scope of Barack Obama’s role as chief executive, there are others who maintain it’s not so clear. Given considerable opposition to his move to significantly loosen restrictions as regards Cuba, he may even end up facing a legal challenge.

That would be in line with current challenges he’s facing on both immigration and health care.

Shortly after the administration announced the shift, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he would try to bar funds from being used to establish an embassy in Cuba for the first time since the 1960s.

Democrat Sen Robert Menendez also took except to the move. Obama is not empowered to simply end the embargo, however, as much of it is manifested in regulations, others maintain there is a fairly wide playing field upon which he can play.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he would do everything in his power to block Obamaís efforts, while Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said a prisoner trade accompanying the other changes ìsets an extremely dangerous precedent.î

And some experts questioned whether Obama was fully acting within a law, suggesting that, as with immigration and healthcare, Obamaís actions on Cuba could face a court challenge.

ìMost who were involved in the drafting of the legislation Ö will believe that some of this isnít authorized,î said Kavulich.

The move may also complicate matters for Hillary Clinton should she opt to run in 2016, as most believe she will. She and husband Bill’s record on Cuba involves some negative history.

Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have a contentious history with the Cuban-American population in Florida that goes back to the fight over Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban child whom the president allowed to be returned to his father in Havana after Gonzalez fled to Florida with his mother, who died on the voyage.

Many in the Cuban-American community blamed Clinton for Gonzalez’s return to the island, and some maintain it hurt Vice President Al Goreís chances of winning the presidency in 2000.

Finally, in something akin to another look back at History, the White House invoked John F. Kennedy, claiming he would be in support of today’s move. Kennedy, as most know, is responsible for initially putting America’s current policy on Cuba in place.

“I do think that even President Kennedy would acknowledge that after more than 50 years of a policy of isolation [which] didn’t bring about the desired result Ö change was needed,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

“So, it does strike me that, while the president is changing a policy that President Kennedy originally put in place, that the philosophy that the president is pursuing and the values that the president is pursuing is entirely consistent with the kinds of values that President Kennedy championed throughout his life,” Earnest said.


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