While on the campaign trail, President Biden said he would restore Obama-era diplomatic ties with Cuba — despite the nation’s close ties with Venezuela’s strongman Nicolás Maduro.
During an appearance on CBS Miami in April 2020, then-candidate Biden was asked if he would restore Obama’s policy of engagement with the communist country.
“Yes, I would. In large part, I would go back,” Biden said. “I’d still insist they keep the commitments they said they would make when we, in fact, set the policy in place.”
In 2014, President Obama moved to normalize relations with Cuba, effectively undoing more than 50 years of U.S. policy – including a trade embargo – with the island nation.
Then in 2017, President Trump reversed his predecessor’s policy on Cuba, calling it a “terrible and misguided deal.”
In the April 2020 interview, Biden downplayed the idea that he would be rewarding Cuba despite them propping up Maduro in Venezuela.
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“Well, they’re having great difficulty propping up Maduro,” Biden said. “Number one, Maduro is in real trouble. 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.”
While campaigning for reelection, Trump’s team said Biden would be following “Bernie Sanders’ lead and side with socialist dictatorships over our country’s values.”
“It’s bad enough that as vice president, Biden never lifted a finger to stop Maduro as he starved his own people and that his administration praised Raúl Castro, giving the Cuban government a pass despite its horrific human rights record,” Trump campaign’s deputy communications director, Ali Pardo said. “Now, just like Biden sold out Americans while his son Hunter made millions doing business with communist China, he’s selling out the Cuban and Venezuelan people to win over the chavista wing of the Democrat Party.”
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Though Biden pledged to restore the Obama-era policy, he has yet to do so as president. Still, his comments on Cuba are getting renewed attention amid rare street protests that broke out in Havana on Sunday.
The demonstrations in Havana and other communities around Cuba marked some of the biggest displays of anti–government sentiment in decades, and authorities appeared determined to put a stop to them.
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Fox News has reached out to the White House to inquire about the administration’s position on Cuba following the unrest, but did not hear back before publication.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.