Republican presidential hopeful Gov. Scott Walker slammed President Barack Obama Monday for allowing the Cuban government to reopen its embassy in Washington, D.C.
“Today, the Castro regime is opening its embassy in the United States,” Walker said in a statement. “Much like with Iran, desperation for a deal has led President Obama to give up much in exchange for almost nothing.”
Cuba and the United States have had a troubled relationship since the Cold War. Arguing previous policies have not resulted in the best interests of America, Obama has tried to improve ties between the two countries. The embassy was fully functional until the United States severed relations with Cuba in 1961.
“The president has handed Cuba a financial lifeline through increased U.S. tourism and investment that will sustain the Castro regime and its oppression for decades to come,” Walker noted. “Meanwhile, the so-called normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba will do nothing to advance American interests or the interests of the Cuban people.”
Though he did not note a time frame in which it will happen, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the president is also interested in lifting the economic embargo imposed on Cuba. The embargo was setup during the Cold War when many feared Cuba would be used as nearby proxy by the Soviet Union. The embargo has nearly destroyed the Cuban economy over the decades. Earlier talks on ending the embargo was criticized by fellow Republican candidate and Cuban-American Marco Rubio.
“A president who believes in American leadership and negotiates from a position of strength would use our leverage to advance U.S. interests and gain greater freedoms for the Cuban people,” Walker concluded. “Unfortunately, President Obama refuses to do that.”
The White House, however, has argued that allowing the Cuban government to reopen its embassy will be beneficial for both countries.
“We look forward to collaborating with the Cuban government on issues of common interest, including counterterrorism and disaster response,” Earnest noted at a press conference. “We are confident that the best way to advance universal values like freedom of speech and assembly is through more engagement with the Cuban people.”
Walker had similar complaints with how the president has handled the Iranian nuclear deal. Walker argued that the deal will allow the Iranian government to dismantle sanctions without having to dismantle its nuclear program.
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