Former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro passed away on Thursday. His death was celebrated by many American Cubans, many of whom had been separated from their families and faced tragedy as a result of his rule.
Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman and incoming president-elect Donald Trump’s chief of staff, spoke with anchor Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” to discuss Trump’s promise to roll back progress made by President Obama in opening up Cuba to trade and diplomacy.
Priebus laid out the stipulations under which Trump would operate:
We’ve got to have a better deal. We’re not going to have a unilateral deal coming from Cuba back to the United States without some changes in their government; repression, open markets, freedom of religion, political prisoners. These things need to change to have open and free relationships, and that’s what president-elect Donald Trump believes and that’s where he’s going to head.
Wallace asked for clarification, saying that Trump was essentially calling for a revolution in Cuba or else he would reverse Obama’s progress. Priebus clarified, telling Wallace that he was listing the suffering that the people were experiencing. However, Priebus informed Wallace that Trump would need to see “some movement in the right direction.”
“It can’t just be nothing, and then you get total and complete cooperation from the United States.” argued Priebus. “There has to be something, and what that something is has yet to be determined.”
The president headed recent efforts to restore diplomatic relations between America and Cuba to open up the country for trade and diplomacy, symbolized by the reopening of the Cuban embassy. He also visited Cuba in March, making him the first United States president to have made such a trip in 88 years. In August, the first U.S. flight to Cuba in 55 years took off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Obama has called on Congress to lift the Cuban embargo. Though critics of the president’s attempts to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba are largely partisan, there were five notable Republican members of Congress in 2014 who shared a similar desire to lift U.S. sanctions on the country: Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
The congressmen verbalized their support for the opening up of the country on the basis of sovereignty, the free movement of people and free markets.