|Glyph for "and then he came"|
President Barack Obama will be accompanied on his historic visit to Cuba this
month by up to 20 members of the Senate and House of Representatives, U.S.
congressional sources said on Monday.
were still being worked out, but the sources told Reuters the White House hoped
the delegation would include Republicans as well as Obama’s fellow Democrats, to
underscore bipartisan support for his moves toward normal relations with the
aides and sources outside the government who were consulted on the matter said
the administration was also considering more moves to ease travel and trade
restrictions before the trip.
will unveil a regulations package as it gets closer to the trip, further easing
of travel, and further commerce and trade (changes),” said one person familiar
with the administration’s discussions.
White House said on Feb. 18 that Obama would visit Havana March 21 and 22 in
another step toward ending decades of animosity between the former Cold War
of his plans prompted sharp criticism from some members of the
Republican-controlled Congress, where there is strong opposition to normalizing
relations with Havana, led mostly by Cuban-American Republican
congressional Republicans want more normal relations with Cuba, as do most
Democrats. But the issue is complicated on Capitol Hill because two senators
vying for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio,
are among the Cuban-Americans strongly opposed to Obama’s policy
said the trip would help accelerate changes in Cuba since he and Cuban President
Raul Castro announced moves to reopen ties in late 2014. Administration
officials hope it will give Washington more leverage to make progress on opening
business opportunities for U.S. companies.
say Obama has demanded too little from Cuba’s government, particularly in the
area of human rights, to end the embargo first imposed in
has used his executive powers to ease some restrictions on trade and travel
since announcing his new Cuba policy 15 months ago. Some major U.S. airlines
have already begun asking regulators for approval to start flying specific
routes to Cuba.
say establishing U.S.-Cuban business relationships would make it difficult for
the next U.S. president to roll back Obama’s policy changes after he leaves
office next January, if a Republican opponent of the policy wins the
Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate, told the Daily Caller in an
interview published in September that he supports the Obama administration’s
opening with Cuba.
the embargo cannot be lifted without Congress’ approval and Republicans say that
will not happen while Obama is in office.