Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is blaming the Obama administration’s Cuba policy for President Joe Biden’s “reticent” response to anti-government protests.
“The Obama administration spent enormous time, resources, and diplomatic capital blaming American foreign policy for the plight of Cubans,” he wrote Wednesday in a National Review op-ed. Then-President Barack Obama ended 50 years of sanctions and trade embargoes against the communist nation in 2014, but did not require the regime to make any political or economic reforms.
The American people stand squarely with the men and women of Cuba and their noble fight for liberty.
Worryingly, the Biden admin has stopped short of strong support for those marching in the streets of Cuba. https://t.co/xjssKCiT4G
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 14, 2021
Former Cuban President Raul Castro promised in 2014 that economic engagement with the U.S. would not cause Cuba to abandon communism.
Obama suggested in 2016 that the U.S. could “learn from” Cuba on issues like healthcare, education, and “basic security.”
With the “Democrat[ic] Party remain[ing] indebted to, and committed to, that approach,” the White House has “claim[ed] that the protests are about access to COVID-19 vaccines,” Cruz explained.
A State Department official blamed “rising COVID cases/deaths & medicine shortages” for the protests on Sunday, despite the fact that protesters chanted, “Cuba isn’t yours,” outside of the Communist Party’s headquarters. (RELATED: Anti-Government Protests Erupt Throughout Cuba, Demanding Freedom)
Similarly, Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders blasted the U.S. embargo for “only hurt[ing], not help[ing], the Cuban people.”
Then-President Donald Trump ended Obama’s policy of opening up to Cuba in 2017, following bipartisan pressure from Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez. He later designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism.
“America must be clear: We support the protesters against the crackdown, and anyone who participates in suppressing the Cuban people will be held accountable by us,” Cruz concluded.