Congressional Response to President Obama’s Announcement on Future Relations with Cuba
In a Miami Herald article published today, Congressional opposition to President Obama’s announcement that the U.S. will lay out “a new course in our relations with Cuba” was discussed.
My blog post yesterday highlights the key changes President Obama announced that effect travel, trade and commerce. Today, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen issued a statement in regards to the proposed changes:
“The liberalization policies aimed at easing trade and remittances to Cuba … is quite possible that this unilateral action by the President without Congressional consultation is in violation of the following U.S. laws: Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 [Helms-Burton Act], Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, and the Trading with the Enemy Act. The White House attempts to normalize relationships with Cuba without the approval of Congress may be in direct violation of Helms-Burton that specifically states that all political prisoners must be released and free and fair elections must be held before establishing a diplomatic relationship.”
Each of the three acts mentioned may be found here:
- Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 [Helms-Burton Act]
- Cuban Democracy Act of 1992
- Trading with the Enemy Act
What remains unclear is how the President will receive funding for the proposed course of action with Cuba, as Congress must approve the budget.
According to the Herald article, Senator Marco Rubio stated he would use his role as the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee to block the reforms, calling them a “a terrible setback for the hopes of all oppressed people around the globe.”