Two groups of pro-Cuba engagement House and Senate Republicans each sent letters to President Donald Trump and members of his administration, respectively, asking for Cuba to remain open in the wake of reports the administration is leaning toward reversing its policy on the island nation.
The National Security Council met Friday to finalize their policy and recommendations for the Principals Committee and then provide those recommendations to the president on Cuba, according to multiple sources briefed on the matter. ABC News has confirmed that Trump will likely announce policy changes in Miami next Friday.
In the letter from the House group, seven Republicans write to Trump that “Reversing course would incentivize Cuba to once again become dependent on countries like Russia and China. Allowing this to happen could have disastrous results for the security of the United States.”
The representatives also argue that reversing the re-normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba would “threaten” the efforts to combat human trafficking, illicit drug trade, cybercrime and fraud identification.
The Republican congressmen that signed the letter include Reps. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, Rick Crawford of Arkansas, Ted Poe of Texas, Darin LaHood of Illinois, Roger Marshall of Kansas, James Comer of Kentucky and Jack Bergman of Michigan.
The Senate letter, written by Sens. John Boozman, R-Arkansas; Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming; and Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster cites the growth in Cuban entrepreneurs, expanded opportunity for U.S. businesses and the national security benefit of preventing the island nation from becoming “a client state of nations that view US interests as counter to their own.”
“We strongly urge you to weigh carefully any rollback of policies that would endanger these benefits,” the letter reads.
A U.S. official said that a rollout is likely next week, but cautioned that the details are still being finalized and the date could be pushed back.
President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro initiated the process in 2014 of opening Cuba, overturning decades of diplomatic hostility, economic and business restrictions, and constraints on travel.
Serena Marshall, abc11.com
June 9, 2017