05.20.15

Senator Perdue Highlights Concerns About President Obama’s Cuba Policy

Questioning Leads To Obama Administration Admitting Cuban Policies Have Unknown Consequences

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) today in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, spoke at length with Assistant Secretary Alberta Jacobson about President Obama’s plans to normalize relations with Cuba. Senator Perdue asked Assistant Secretary Jacobson about potential negative unintended consequences of President Obama’s proposed actions on Cuba, and the Assistant Secretary admitted that the Obama Administration does not know what effects, if any, normalization would have on influencing the Cuban government. Click here to watch the video.

Transcript:

Senator Perdue: “To follow up, why wouldn’t we make that a prerequisite that better behavior would lead to opened economic relations?”

Secretary Jacobson: “I think Senator, we all want the same end. It’s a question of how we basically motivate that behavior or how effectively we can help support change. The President believes firmly that the efforts we made in the past, which were in fact to say you must change first and then we will engage, just didn’t work to make the changes inside Cuba.”

Senator Perdue: “We have evidence, though, cause and effect of several other countries Britain, Canada, others having opened trading relations with Cuba. We are the only ones really embargoing and yet that engagement really has not changed behavior. So what makes us believe that today our opening up of economic relations with Cuba will actually have that effect? 

Secretary Jacobson: “I think that’s a fair point , and we don’t know yet what the effect of this policy will be on the Cuban government. We do see already the effect, the beginning of the effect, on the Cuban people while we decry the detentions of the activists. We know there are Cubans who are benefiting from this new policy in their independent businesses and in their belief that they’re going to prosper and have a better life because of engagement with the U.S. The other thing I would say is that I am very engaged with my E.U. counterpart and with my counterpart in Spain, in working with them so that we can now work together, and when we work together not just with our regional counterparts, but with our European counterparts that is more powerful and I think that could have a more galvanizing effect, but it will be slow. I don’t deny that.”