Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gov. Asa Hutchinson continues to back engagement with Cuba, as Trump threatens to reverse détente

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 6:16 AM


Gov. Asa Hutchinson told the press yesterday that Castro's death represents an opportunity (including a trade opportunity for Arkansas farmers). Hutchinson argued against going back to the U.S.'s failed embargo policy. President Barack Obama began a re-engagement with Cuba and an opening of diplomatic relations, but president-elect Donald Trump threatened this week to reverse it. Via KARK, see above for Hutchinson's response when asked about Trump potentially nixing the détente. Some classic Hutch hedging, but the governor clearly wants to see the Obama policy of an opening with Cuba continued, not overturned:
President-elect Trump has had a hard line toward Cuba, and that’s understandable, but it’s a different day and time, and I hope that we do not go back to the simple, straightforward, rigid embargo that we have tried for 50-plus years. It is time for a change, but that it is change that should not come without an enhancement of freedom on the part of the Cuban government and changes that we would expect there. So we need to balance keeping the pressure on Cuba, but at the same time, expressing to them a willingness to re-engage as we see freedom and opportunity changing in that country.
Sen. Tom Cotton, meanwhile, opposed the opening to Cuba, so it will be interesting to hear him weigh in. His political director, former state Rep. John Burris, tweeted that he liked Trump's bluster on Cuba, which he called "a breath of fresh air compared to Obama nuance." No one has accused Trump of nuance.
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