Florida Five: Reaction to Obama’s Cuba decision – Scott, Rubio, Wasserman Schultz weigh in

Five of today’s top Florida stories on Obama’s Cuba decision at your fingertips:

Gov. Rick Scott blasts president’s decision on Cuba – Gov. Rick Scott blasted President Obama Wednesday for his announcement on Cuba, calling Obama’s new stance on the nation extremely disappointing. Scott said that while he is pleased that American hostage Allen Gross was released, he cannot condone the trade that ensued, or Obama’s other actions. “It’s disappointing what President Obama has done, trading (Allen Gross) for spies that killed Americans, starting  trade relations or diplomatic relations with a totalitarian regime that doesn’t respect its own citizens, doesn’t believe in  human rights or democracy,” Scott said. “I think we should continue trade sanctions. The president has absolutely done the wrong thing.” Scott’s sentiments were echoed by his lieutenant governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a Cuban-American who said his grandparents lost everything when they fled Cuba decades ago. Read more

Rubio slams Obama as worst negotiator in history; disgusted with absurd coddling of Cuba – U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., slammed President Obama over the decision to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba, saying the move will do nothing to further democracy and freedom in the third-world country. “It’s absurd and it’s part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established,” Rubio said Wednesday in an appearance on Fox News. Rubio, whose parents were forced to flee Cuba during Fidel Castro’s rise to power, said Obama’s foreign policy is “at a minimum, naive, and perhaps even, truly, truly counterproductive to the future of democracy in the region.” Read more

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. Read more

Cuban reaction in Little Havana
Photo via CBS Miami. Watch video here.

Mixed emotions in Cuban exile community as Castro, Obama move to normalize relations – President Barack Obama’s surprise move to re-establish ties with Cuba was applauded by the men and women in a barbershop on Calle Ocho, the heart of Miami’s Cuban exile community. Waitresses stopped serving coffee at the El Pub restaurant as Obama spoke on TV. One wiped a tear from her eye as she clasped her hands, overcome with emotion at changes no one believed would come. Only several dozen people attended Wednesday’s hastily organized protests in Little Havana following the surprise announcement, a reflection of just how much the Cuban-American community has changed since the Cold War days when the U.S. began trying to isolate Cuba’s communist government. Among them was John Hernandez, holding a “Fire Obama” sign. Read more

Cuba decision marks a bet by Obama that Cold War politics have turned a corner – President Obama’s surprising move toward normalizing relations with Cuba amounts to a big bet that the nation — and, particularly, the crucial swing state of Florida — has turned a political corner from the Cold War era. Obama’s decision aligns with a growing sentiment that current Cuba policy has become counterproductive. Among those making that argument has been former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, the presumed front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, who said the new stance has the potential to “encourage real and lasting reforms for the Cuban people.” But the new stance immediately came under challenge. Read more

Bonus 2016 watch: Election 2016 Cuba Policy: Florida Impact For Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page


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