MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Republican representative and Democratic senator from Minnesota are speaking out strongly against President Donald Trump’s new policy on relations with Cuba.
Trump announced Friday the United States would be restoring some economic and travel restrictions that were lifted during Barack Obama’s administration.
Under the new policy, transactions with businesses controlled by the Cuban regime will be prohibited and both tourism and business-related travel will be restricted.
The White House said the goal of the new policy is to hold the Cuban regime accountable for human rights violations and empower the Cuban people, as well as to enhance U.S. national security and enforce U.S. law more strictly.
Friday, Rep. Tom Emmer, who represents Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, said in a statement he is “extremely disappointed with President Trump’s announcement.”
Emmer called the “roll back” in relations with Cuba “misguided” and said it “undercuts human rights and threatens national security.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar also released a statement. It said in part: “These changes will disadvantage our businesses and undermine American tourism, which will also hurt the Cuban people … We need to build on the bipartisan momentum we have created by restoring relations with Cuba, not make it harder for Americans to travel and do business there.”
Emmer’s full statement is below.
“I am extremely disappointed with President Trump’s announcement he is going to ‘roll back’ the progress made in improving our relationship with Cuba. Through today’s actions, his Administration claims that he is honoring a campaign promise and fighting for the Cuban people. Yet, by returning to the failed policy of the past 55 years, the Administration moves no closer to helping improve the human rights situation in Cuba and stands to violate the President’s number one campaign promise and constitutional responsibility- to keep the American people and our homeland safe.
“With today’s directive, the Administration is limiting our opportunities to improve the human rights and religious liberties of the Cuban people, not expanding them. This policy decision will hurt the United States economically, making it harder for our nation’s farmers to access new markets and cutting the knees out from under our travel and manufacturing industries. Perhaps most importantly, today’s announcement creates a very real security risk for the American people and our homeland by inviting foreign nations into our backyard to fill a void that today’s announcement is creating.
“Today is not the end of this discussion; it is yet another chapter in a long and complex history between the United States and Cuba. My colleagues and I will continue to advocate for human rights and religious freedoms, a more secure hemisphere, and new economic opportunities for American farmers and businesses by improving our relationship with Cuba, not retreating.
“The voices of our policy makers must represent the voices of the overwhelming majority of Americans who favor improving our relationship with Cuba. I hope as we go forward, the President will remember he was elected to challenge the status quo – not to be part of it.
“We will be on the right side of history and lift this failed embargo.”
Klobuchar’s full statement is below:
“President Trump’s announcement today is not a total roll back, but it is a setback in U.S. – Cuba relations at a time when 73 percent of Americans want more engagement with Cuba, not less. These changes will disadvantage our businesses and undermine American tourism, which will also hurt the Cuban people. Earlier today I joined Minnesota officials and business leaders who are traveling to Cuba next week to send the message that America wants to continue doing business in Cuba. We need to build on the bipartisan momentum we have created by restoring relations with Cuba, not make it harder for Americans to travel and do business there.”