- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said the U.S. starting to trade with Cuba is “probably a good idea,” and the embargo against the country “just hasn’t worked.

The comments, made a day after President Obama announced a normalization in relations between the communist country and the United States, stand in stark contrast to the aggressive criticism of Mr. Obama’s move from many Republicans and potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders.

“The 50-year embargo just hasn’t worked,” Mr. Paul said in a radio interview on 800 WHVU in West Virginia, The Associated Press reported. “If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn’t seem to be working and probably it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship.

“In the end, I think opening up Cuba is probably a good idea,” he said.

Mr. Paul’s possible rivals for the presidential nomination, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, roundly criticized the move as the latest foreign policy misstep by the Obama administration, with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on CNN tying it to “the failures of the Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner if she runs in 2016, also has expressed support for loosening the embargo and offered praise for Mr. Obama’s announcement.

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• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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