President Obama will have trouble appointing an ambassador to Cuba following his decision to normalize relations with the Communist government, predicts the outgoing Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
On Sunday, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., told CNN that past actions on the part of the Obama administration would make it “very difficult to get an ambassador confirmed.”
The senior Democratic lawmaker blasted the White House for independently restarting diplomatic ties with Communist Cuba while keeping Senate leaders in the dark.
Asked if he was ever consulted about negotiations with Cuba, Menendez replied, “Absolutely not, I knew nothing about them.”
A Cuban-American himself, Menendez argues the Obama administration played into the hands of the Castro government without achieving any lasting reforms for the Cuban people.
“We exchanged one innocent American for three convicted Cuban spies, including one that was convicted for conspiracy to commit murder against U.S. citizens.”
“If you’re going to make a deal with the regime,” Menendez complained, “then get something for it.”
The senator argues that “10 million people in Cuba got a bad deal” while the United States exchanged “one innocent American for three convicted Cuban spies” and received “nothing in terms of democracy and human rights.”
Indicative of a greater problem, Menendez said the Obama administration’s “secret diplomacy” has kept Senate leaders from getting “straight answers” not only about Cuban but also Iranian negotiations.
He explained that these methods will make things “problematic for the administration when it appears before the committee again.”
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