Thursday, March 03, 2016

Guantánamo and Republicans

Congressman Matt Salmon tweeted that he is introducing legislation to require congressional participation in any negotiations to close Guantánamo Naval Station. This points to two things:

First, Republicans are deeply concerned that President Obama will make a deal with the Cuban government during his visit. This is stoked by Obama's desire to close the prison (which is not the same as closing the base). This doesn't seem particularly likely to me, especially in a very dicey presidential election year. Opening up to Cuba is not controversial among the general public, but returning Guantánamo entirely could well be.

Second, Republicans learned from the 1990s that an effective way to block Cuba policy is to pull it away from the executive branch. That's what Helms-Burton did. The president cannot end the embargo without congressional approval.


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