McConnell Sides with Team Rubio on Cuba Issue

In an interview that aired on Friday’s Hugh Hewitt radio show conducted by fill-in host Ed Morrissey, soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed his disapproval of President Barack Obama’s shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba.

“I don’t think we’ll get anything out of it other than it will strengthen the Castro brothers because it will give them the hard currency they’ve been dying to have to strengthen their regime,” McConnell said. “You know, every country we open up with doesn’t necessarily respond to that by engaging in democratic reforms. Someone the other day mentioned Vietnam as a good example. We’ve had a relationship with Vietnam now for 15 years. But the regime in how it treats its own people really hadn’t changed. So the opening up there did not necessarily produce the kind of internal reforms that are everybody had hoped for. I can’t imagine the Castro brothers will do anything but be strengthened and actually probably enriched by the normalization of relationships with this communist country.”

McConnell cited Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) for the bodies expertise on Cuba, all of which have spoken out again Obama’s new Cuba policy.

“I think we have some real leverage here,” he added. “Marco Rubio, one of the Cuban-Americans in the Senate is an expert on Cuba. His parents came from there. We have two other Cuban-Americans in the Senate – Ted Cruz and Bob Menendez, a Democrat. They will need to come to us to confirm a new ambassador, to fund the operation. We will have some leverage. A number of the embargoes are statutory. So we do have some leverage and we intend to use it.”

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