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Published On: Fri, Dec 19th, 2014

President Obama moves on ending Cuba embargo, attacked by GOP

President Obama will move quickly to end the American trade embargo against Cuba, administration officials said Thursday, using broad executive orders to lift restrictions on travel, commerce and financial activities.

Starting in January, White House officials and foreign policy experts describe as a sweeping set of changes the Obama administration is expected to make on his own to re-establish commercial and diplomatic ties with Cuba even in the face of angry congressional opposition, particularly the Republicans.

President Obama now turns his attention to ending the Cuba embargo  photo/Memorial Day speech in Arlington National Cemetery, 2014  photo/screenshot of video coverage

President Obama now turns his attention to ending the Cuba embargo photo/Memorial Day speech in Arlington National Cemetery, 2014 photo/screenshot of video coverage

“The embargo is a container — it’s been that way since President Eisenhower — that’s had regulations and laws put into it and taken out of it and mixed about,” said John Kavulich of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council. “President Obama is saying, ‘I’m going to leave a shell, but it’s going to be a proverbial Easter egg — it’s going to be hollow.’ ”

One the changes is for the Treasury Department to issue a series of regulations to ease agricultural exports and establish banking relations, administration officials said, and the Commerce Department will move to allow United States companies to export construction and telecommunications equipment, among other things, for sale in Cuba.

The State Department is also starting a review that could lead to Cuba’s removal from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, clearing away a major impediment to Havana’s ability to trade and access banking services around the world.

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

Taken together, the actions will render the embargo “a lot more holes than cheese,” said Robert L. Muse, a Washington-based lawyer who specializes in American laws relating to Cuba. “The president went big on this, and that produces a momentum of its own, so I expect that we’ll see these things go further and faster than anybody would have anticipated.”

Senator Robert E. Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, said the president’s changes were “clearly intended to circumvent the intent and spirit of U.S. law and the U.S. Congress.”

Jeb Bush called it a “misstep” that “undermines America’s credibility and undermines the quest for a free and democratic Cuba.”

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, vowed to use his role as incoming chairman of a Foreign Relations subcommittee to block progress on policy.

“The White House has conceded everything,” Rubio said, calling the policy “disgraceful.”

While Sen. Rand Paul told Tom Roten of News Talk 800 in West Virginia that the 50-year embargo “just hasn’t worked” and normalizing relations with the island nation is “probably a good idea.”

“If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn’t seem to be working and probably it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship,” he said.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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