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On Cuba, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is out of step with DNC, Obama


Nearly all politicians who support longstanding hardline U.S. policy toward Cuba tend to be Cuban-American, Republican or both.

With one big exception: Weston U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who happens to be the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. On Wednesday, after President Obama announced an historic deal to thaw the Cold War-era hostilities with Cuba, Wasserman Schultz was eerily quiet.

Then, when Wasserman Schultz spoke, she was clearly out of step with the DNC. Consider the statements each issued and their timing:

At 7:14 p.m., Wasserman Schultz's congressonal office released the most-tepid of statements that stopped well short of her usual full-throated support for what Obama does: “Like the President, I too envision a bright future for the Cuban people where their basic human rights are respected and they can access information freely. While I have always been opposed to unearned changes in the status of our relationship with Cuba, I will continue to work with the Administration, my colleagues, and community activists to support policies that benefit the Cuban people and do not further entrench the Castro regime.”

Ummm, "unearned?" What does that mean? No clarification was given.

Exactly one minute after she issued the statement, the DNC press office at 7:15 p.m. followed up with a haymaker of a press release that savaged potential 2016 GOP candidates. Here it is in its entirety:

Today, the President announced groundbreaking developments regarding the United States’ relations with Cuba that will benefit the Cuban and American people and their pursuit of prosperity and economic opportunity.

Before the President even announced the new policy – Republicans jumped to criticize the to-be-announced policy. This shouldn’t come as a shock to any considering their knee-jerk opposition to anything proposed by this President.

However, while the President laid out a thoughtful rationale for the shift in US foreign policy (changes supported by a majority of the American people), Republicans continue to embrace the Cold War-era policy that most Americans are anxious to move beyond.  

Jeb Bush

Doesn’t believe the United States should negotiate with Cuba and supports continuing the 50 year old Cuba embargo that has shown few results.

Marco Rubio

Called the announcement “inexplicable” before he decided to chide Pope Francis (which should go over well with the 88% of American Catholics who approve of the Pope), and spoke out forcefully against negotiating for the release of Alan Gross and relaxing relations.

Mike Pence

Pence previously spoke out against any negotiations with the Cuban government – like those that just earned the freedom of Alan Gross.

Paul Ryan

Ryan was against the Cuban embargo before he was for it – evolving to a position that is at odds with the American people.

Scott Walker

Walker called President Obama’s updating of relations with Cuba a “bad idea” – again at odds with the majority of Americans.

Ted Cruz

Cruz said the President’s announcement on Cuba “will be remembered as a tragic mistake.”  

Bobby Jindal

Jindal said, "Congress should do everything it can to stop the President’s plan."

 The American people simply disagree.

  • ·         In every Gallup poll since 1999, Americans have wanted to normalize relations with Cuba.
  • ·         77% of the country believes we should work with Cuba to address issues important to both nations.
  • ·         62% of Americans support allowing more American companies to do business in Cuba. 
  • ·         More than 60% of Americans support removing restrictions on travel to Cuba.

 And this includes Cubans themselves…

  • ·         90% of young Cubans in the Miami Dade area support diplomatic relations with Cuba.
  • ·         Support for allowing unrestricted travel to Cuba has grown to 69% among Cubans in South Florida.
  • ·         And 2012 exit polling shows that President Obama won Florida Cuban voters — even while campaigning on a promise to review US foreign policy towards Cuba.

While Republicans continue to live in the past, President Obama is looking to the future to create more opportunity for Americans and Cubans alike.