The White House has announced that the State Department officially removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terror this week. The Obama administration is earnestly pressing ahead with its goal of restoring United States and Cuba relations.
However, that reality is not stopping opponents of restoration in Congress from creating speed bumps along the way. Earlier this week, a House Appropriations sub-committee voted down a measure to fund a U.S. embassy in Havana.
Although the vote does not bar the State Departments’ usage of the existing U.S. government building, it does block approval of the agency’s request of $6.6 million dollars for location updates. The agency hoped to use the $6.6 million for an official embassy building.
Under President Dwight Eisenhower, the United States ended diplomatic ties with the Cuba in 1961. The U.S. has yet to have diplomatic relations with the Castro regime since then due to the island’s communist activity.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) is one House leader who staunchly opposes Obama’s u-turn on Cuba relations. He pointed that the subcommittee vote also “prohibits support for a Cuban embassy consulates in the U.S.”
The fight also continues to serve as a rift among Republicans who are split on whether ties with Cuba should be restored. Sen. Marco Rubio, who is of Cuban descent, promised to block confirmation of a U.S. ambassador to Cuba until human rights demands are met by the Castro government.