United States presidential candidate for the Democratic Party and former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday he would go back to former President Barack Obama’s policies toward Cuba if he wins the presidential election in November.
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“In large part, I would go back,” Biden said in an interview with CBS. “I’d still insist they keep the commitments they said they would make when we, in fact, set the policy in place.”
Under Obama’s administration, the U.S. and the Caribbean nation started a process of normalizing their relations, leading to the re-establishment of diplomatic ties, and flights between both countries.
U.S. President Donald Trump decided to reverse Obama’s policy toward Cuba and reimposed economic sanctions in June 2017. He also imposed travel restrictions and abandoned diplomatic engagement with the island nation.
Those moves were part of the Trump administration's efforts to pressure Cuba allegedly over its support to Venezuela’s Bolivarian government, that the U.S. has been trying to overthrow since 1998.
Biden said he would engage with Cuba but still sanction its government for backing the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro.
“Well, they’re having great difficulty propping up Maduro, number one, Maduro is in real trouble,” Biden said. “Number two, there’s no reason why we cannot still sanction them. But failing to recognize them at all is a different thing than sanctioning them.”
“This is more than about Cuba, it’s about all of the Caribbean and it’s about all of our friends and allies in Latin America,” he added.
The more than half-century unilateral U.S. blockade against Cuba has been overwhelmingly condemned by the international community as it violates international law. While Biden’s comments may seem less bellicose than the current Trump administration’s angle, some observers argue that when it comes to foreign policy, especially the relations with Cuba and Venezuela, the Democratic leadership in the U.S. is still very close to the mindset of Republicans.