President Barack Obama’s decision to change policy toward Cuba is already stirring up controversy in the Republican Party Presidential race.
Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona went along on the trip to Cuba to bring back Alan Gross and an American spy in exchange for three Cuban spies, and he has long believed that the 54 year old policy of isolation of Cuba has been wrong, and needed to be revisited.
But Flake is not running for President, so he is a rare standout for his views on Cuba in the Republican Party, although his actions and words insure a tough race for reelection, when he comes up in 2018.
But the big news is that Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a full fledged Presidential aspirant, has taken the same stand, just as his father, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, took on Cuba for many years, making him a pariah in the Republican Party.
Rand Paul has come under bitter attack by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, two rivals of his for the nomination, and both Cuban Americans. And others in Republican leadership have also joined in the attack, including Jeb Bush.
The question is whether Rand Paul has forfeited any chance to be the GOP Presidential nominee by his decision to back Barack Obama on this initiative.
It will, most certainly, stir up the race, and make future attitudes and policies toward Cuba a key issue in the Republican Presidential primaries, as it is likely that the critics of Obama’s changed policy will promise to restore the isolationist policy that has been in existence for a half century, were any of them to become President.
Ironically, though, by 2017, we will be nearing the end of the Castro brothers in power, as Raul Castro has said he will retire in 2018, when he is 87, and Fidel Castro is 92. So the end is near for this two brother dominance of the future of Cuba!