President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, Ben Rhodes, has said that the reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the United States is irreversible and that legislative restrictions are likely to be lifted by the US Congress.
Speaking at Meridian International Center in Washington on June 9, Mr Rhodes, who led the 18 months of secret discussions that led to the restoration of relations between the two nations in December 2014, said that President Obama’s opening to Cuba is irreversible. He also said that the remaining legislative restrictions on relations between the two countries – including the US travel ban and trade embargo – are likely to be lifted by Congress “sooner than people think”.
“The fact of the matter is that the American people and the Cuban people overwhelmingly want this to happen,” Mr Rhodes told a conference on Cuba at the not for profit body. “Frankly, whatever the political realities in either country, for somebody to try to turn this off, they would have to be working against the overwhelming desires of their own people. That ship has sailed,” he said.
As Cuba Briefing reported last week, numerous bipartisan bills have been introduced in Congress to end the regulation of US tourism and travel to Cuba, as well as on the overall trade embargo and on restrictions on financial transactions. Of these there is now a majority in the US Senate in relation to the lifting of the travel ban. However, a House version of the appropriations bill that contains the measures intends the opposite, seeking to impose new restrictions rather than easing them.
This is an extract from the Caribbean Council’s weekly Cuba Briefing, a leading publication that provides detailed and accurate news on economic, social and political developments inside Cuba to corporate interests with a long term economic relationship with the island.
The publication is available internationally on a subscription-only basis for those in business, government and the academic world who wish to understand on a weekly basis developments relating to Cuba.