Obama Could Duck Fight Over U.S. Ambassador to Cuba

Friday, May 22, 2015
From Politico:

Barack Obama could duck fight over U.S. ambassador to Cuba

“I don’t think it’s useful to confront a situation that may not have a successful completion,” Ben Cardin says.

President Barack Obama may be able to quickly remove Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list, restore some trade with the communist-led island and even establish a U.S. Embassy in Havana. But when it comes to appointing an ambassador to Cuba, at least one top Democrat says the president should bide his time.

Ambassadors require Senate confirmation and a nomination could trigger a potentially bitter fight with 2016 overtones: Two of the senators most opposed to Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba — Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz — are running for president. It’s also an unnecessary battle, some argue, because the U.S. mission in Havana can be run without an official ambassador, and the lead American envoy there now is well-regarded.

When asked whether Obama should bother to nominate someone, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that while he “ultimately” would like to see a confirmed ambassador, it may take “a little longer” than other aspects of the new U.S.-Cuba relationship.

“I don’t think it’s useful to confront a situation that may not have a successful completion,” Cardin said.