Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Republican candidates vow to close US embassy in Havana

Cuba would be once again seen as an enemy of the United States under a Republican president, as the main contenders for the nomination all promised to reverse the recent rapprochement. President Barack Obama is working to make the December 2014 re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba one of the key legacies of his rule. A series of announcements have nibbled at the edges of the trade embargo – which remains in place, despite Mr Obama’s expressed wish that Congress lift it. In ten days time Mr Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit the island in 88 years. But Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz all condemned Mr Obama’s forthcoming visit during Thursday night’s Republican debate in Miami – the traditional home of anti-Castro sentiment in the US. Mr Cruz’s father and both Mr Rubio’s parents came from Cuba. None of the candidates is believed to have ever visited the island to see for themselves. And Mr Cruz, Mr Trump and Mr Rubio all said they would close the embassy in Havana – which was opened by John Kerry in August – until Cuba opens up politically.



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