Ted Cruz: Obama’s New Cuba Policy ‘Will Be Remembered as a Tragic Mistake’

The junior senator from Texas, whose father emigrated from Cuba, said Wednesday that Obama’s announcement is seriously misguided.

Rebecca Nelson
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Rebecca Nelson
Dec. 17, 2014, 12:23 p.m.

Hours after his Sen­ate col­league and fel­low Cuban-Amer­ic­an Marco Ru­bio cri­ti­cized Pres­id­ent Obama’s change in U.S. policy on Cuba, Ted Cruz broke his si­lence on the news with a bang, call­ing the de­cision “a tra­gic mis­take.”

The Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­or from Texas told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon that be­cause of the Amer­ic­an em­bargo and dip­lo­mat­ic freeze-out, Cuba had been “gasp­ing for air.” Now, though, Obama’s policy shift would have dev­ast­at­ing ef­fects.

“Just like the ad­min­is­tra­tion did with Ir­an, right when the [Ir­a­ni­an] ad­min­is­tra­tion was feel­ing the max­im­um pain, [Obama] throws them an eco­nom­ic life­line and con­tin­ues the bru­tal re­pres­sion and dic­tat­or­ship of the Castro broth­ers,” said Cruz, whose fath­er emig­rated from Cuba in 1957, four years be­fore the U.S. im­posed a strict trade em­bargo on the coun­try.

When Cavuto poin­ted out that more than five dec­ades of the same policy hadn’t been very ef­fect­ive, Cruz de­murred. “What it has wrought is lim­it­ing the im­pact and harm of Cuba,” he said.

Cruz also cri­ti­cized the pres­id­ent’s for­eign policy strategy as a whole, slam­ming what he called Obama’s in­ab­il­ity to dis­cern the “dif­fer­ence between our friends and our en­emies.”

“This pres­id­ent be­lieves ap­pease­ment works,” he said. “When it comes to deal­ing with tyr­ants and bul­lies, wheth­er it is [Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir] Putin, wheth­er it is Ir­an, or wheth­er it is the Castros in Cuba, he be­lieves that a po­s­i­tion of weak­ness is how we should ne­go­ti­ate, and that doesn’t work.”

Cruz, a likely 2016 can­did­ate, made sure to con­trast the “Obama-Clin­ton-Kerry for­eign policy,” as he called it—a new spin on his usu­al “Obama-Clin­ton” line—with his own doc­trine of “peace through strength.” And in an­oth­er re­mind­er of his seem­ingly in­ev­it­able run for the pres­id­ency, Cruz told Cavuto that in 2016, Re­pub­lic­ans shouldn’t nom­in­ate an­oth­er mod­er­ate can­did­ate—pre­sum­ably like former Flor­ida Gov. Jeb Bush, who an­nounced Tues­day that he is ser­i­ously con­sid­er­ing a White House bid.

“What we’re do­ing isn’t work­ing,” Cruz said. “If we nom­in­ate an­oth­er can­did­ate in the mold of a Bob Dole or John Mc­Cain or Mitt Rom­ney—and let me be clear, all three of them are good, hon­or­able, prin­cipled men—but it isn’t work­ing. The same voters who stayed home in ‘08 and ‘12 will stay over­whelm­ingly in ‘16, and Hil­lary Clin­ton is the next pres­id­ent. And that will do ir­re­par­able dam­age to the coun­try.”

As if the news of a thaw in U.S. re­la­tions with Cuba wasn’t wor­ri­some enough for Re­pub­lic­ans.

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