As the rest of the potential field of candidates for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 condemned President Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba this week, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) broke ranks and agreed with the president.
Paul made his comments in an interview with Tom Roten on News Talk 800 WVHU on Wednesday, telling Roten that “the 50-year embargo just hasn’t worked” and that only the Cuban people have suffered because of it.
“You know I grew up in a family that was about as anti-communist as you can come by,” Paul said. “We had people that actually fought against the Bolsheviks back in 1917 were friends of our family. So we didn’t have any love lost for the communists and when we first opened up trade with China, we were thinking it’s a bad idea. But you know over time, I’ve come to believe and many conservatives have come to believe that trading with China is actually the best way to ultimately defeat communism.”
“The 50-year embargo just hasn’t worked,” he continued. “If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn’t seem to be working, and probably, it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship.”
Paul further annoyed the right by saying that while some of the provisions of the existing embargo were put in place by law, other provisions were instituted by executive order which he can undo by issuing new executive orders.
“The bottom line is that even the Cuban community is kind of coming around on this,” Paul said. “If you poll or interview younger Cubans, over half of young Cuban-Americans actually are for opening up trade with Cuba.”
Paul noted that many farmers in the country are also in favor of opening trade with Cuba since that would give them yet another market for their crops.
Listen to the interview in the audio clip below.