In carrying on with his tradition of bypassing Congress, ignoring the rule of law, exceeding his Constitutional authority, and unilaterally making sweeping changes to international policy, President Barack Obama declared yesterday that he was “normalizing” the relationship between the United States and the communist regime of Cuba.
As part of a trade deal announced by Obama, America won the return of aid worker Alan Gross, who had been held captive in Cuba. His release came at the expense of three convicted and imprisoned Cuban spies, along with a lifting of the travel ban and the easing of some trade restrictions by America, as well as renewed diplomatic ties and a re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana.
But Obama’s deal has been called “another concession to tyranny” and is being heavily criticized in both the media and Congress, from both sides of the aisle, according to Fox News.
“These changes will lead to legitimacy for a government that shamelessly continuously abuses human rights, but it will not lead to assistance for those whose rights are being abused,” Florida Senator and Cuban-American Marco Rubio said, adding “It’s absurd and it’s part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants.”
Rubio reminded that the administration is “constantly giving away unilateral concessions … in exchange for nothing.” He also said that Obama is the “worst negotiator” he has seen in his lifetime and intimated that Congress would not support a lifting of the trade embargo.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined Rubio in criticizing Obama’s plan, saying he would defer to Rubio on the matter.
“Unfortunately, we fear the most damaging chapter to America’s national security is still being written. We dread the day President Obama takes to the podium to announce a nuclear deal with the Iranian ayatollahs which does little, if anything, to deter their nuclear ambitions, placing our nation and our closest allies in even deeper peril,” the joint statement read.
But it wasn’t just Republicans who were critical of the move, with New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, who is also Cuban-American, expressing concern over yet another swap of convicted prisoners for a captured American.
“President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government,” he said in a statement. “Trading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips.”
Thankfully some members of Congress are speaking up about this deal. Once again, Obama has done something on his own that normally falls within Congressional purview.
Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution grants Congress the sole power of regulating commerce with foreign nations. Some supporters of Obama’s executive action on Cuba may point to Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution, which grants the executive the power to make treaties, but they conveniently ignore the very next clause of that section, which requires the advice and consent of Congress, something Obama didn’t have.
To be sure, the relationship between the United States and Cuba should be normalized. Free trade is the most effective way at spreading the message of liberty and freedom. History has shown that embargoes and sanctions don’t always work, and more than 50 years of isolation for Cuba has not succeeded in effectively weakening or destroying the oppressive Castro regime.
It is time for the trade embargo and sanctions on Cuba to be eased, but it must be done the right way, through legislative action, and it must be a free and fair trade, with the communist regime in Cuba making just as many concessions as the U.S. is making.
Courtesy of Conservative Tribune