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Ted Cruz Calls Obama's Cuba Announcement a 'Slap in the Face' to Israel

On Wednesday, the Obama administration announced that a deal has been reached to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba and reopen embassies. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is running for president, called the announcement "unacceptable and a slap in the face of a close ally that the United States will have an embassy in Havana before one in Jerusalem."

The United States has an embassy in Tel Aviv, but Cruz has consistently called for the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem. In addition, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), said that he would oppose the confirmation of an ambassador to Cuba until the Obama administration tackles a handful of issues including U.S. fugitives living in Cuba and travel restrictions on U.S. diplomats. Cruz added in a statement that he will place a hold, effectively blocking, any nominee unless Obama "can demonstrate that he has made some progress in alleviating the misery" of the Cuban people.

Only GOP Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) suggesting that Wednesday's announcement was a step in the right direction. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, saying that "we are moving in a more hopeful direction." On the other hand, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), a leading critic of Obama's Cuba policy, said that the decision sends a message that "democracy and human rights take a back seat to a legacy initiative.”

Photo: KUT

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