WASHINGTON - The Obama administration's effort to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba is expected to be harshly challenged by the Republican controlled Congress, particularly with regards to the Cuban military.
Just last week, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would ban Americans from engaging in any financial transactions with the Cuban military or the Cuban Ministry of the Interior, or with any entity controlled by the military or the Ministry.
The legislation was intended to “ensure that the Cuban people, and not the Castro regime’s repressive security apparatus, benefit from any increased trade resulting from the Obama administration’s policy to normalize U.S.-Cuban relations.”
It has received significant support from Republican members of the House, including Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Other leaders of both the House and Senate have also introduced legislation prohibiting Americans from conducting financial transactions with the Cuban military, which could include the simple act of paying a hotel bill.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, has recently introduced such a bill. He said much of the travel business in Cuba is controlled by the military which has been benefiting from this booming industry.
“Every dollar you spend will wind up in the hands of Cuban military that sponsors terrorism by smuggling arms to North Korea, with its senior officials indicted for murder of Americans over international air space, and a Cuban military that uses every access it has to fund, enrich themselves, to repress the Cuban people,” Senator Rubio said.
Havana has turned to Beijing for military supplies as Washington prohibits any weapon transferring to Cuba.