Stop Hiding Details of Cuba Embassy Deal

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
It's becoming abundantly clear that the July 1st deal between the United States and the Castro regime to re-establish Embassies was a bad one.

Otherwise, there wouldn't be such secrecy about the details.

The July 1st deal was the culmination of six months of negotiations led by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Roberta Jacobson.

Since then, the State Department has been unwilling to share any details about the deal with the American people.

(Caveat: If this is the case with Cuba, just imagine the secrecy that awaits with Iran.)

"We'll talk about those details later," punted Secretary of State John Kerry.

Meanwhile, at a post-announcement briefing, a senior State Department official -- presumably Jacobson -- also dodged any details.

Why? Are they that bad?

Fortunately -- for those who cherish transparency -- Jacobson has been nominated to become U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.

Needless to say, it would be negligent for the Senate to consider Jacobson's nomination without first carefully scrutinizing the details of the July 1st deal that she negotiated.

After all, she was the lead negotiator of the July 1st deal -- the results of which she's responsible for.

Thus, the following legal issues should be probed:

-- According to Section 201 of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, it is the policy of the United States that diplomatic recognition should be considered "when the President determines that a there exists a democratically elected government in Cuba."

Is the July 1st deal consistent with U.S. law, as codified?

-- Section 207 of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act also states that, "the satisfactory resolution of property claims by a Cuban Government recognized by the United States remains an essential condition for the full resumption of economic and diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba."

Is the July 1st deal consistent with Congressional intent?

-- According to Article 26 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, "the receiving State shall ensure to all members of the mission freedom of movement and travel in its territory."

Will all members of a potential U.S. Embassy have freedom of movement and travel in Cuba?

-- According to Article 27.3 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, "the diplomatic bag shall not be opened or detained."

Has the Castro regime agreed to respect the inviolability of U.S. diplomatic pouches to a potential Embassy in Havana?

Moreover, has the Cuban regime agreed to allow secure shipments to ensure the integrity -- physical and security -- of a potential Embassy?

If Jacobson (irresponsibly) agreed to any of the (illegal) limitations above, will the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions impose reciprocal restrictions on the privileges enjoyed by a potential Cuban Embassy and its members in the United States?

The following policy issues should also be probed:

Will Cubans that visit a potential U.S. Embassy have to previously pass through a security cordon of Castro regime officials?

Will Cubans be subject to any pre-screening procedures by Castro regime officials before entering a potential U.S. Embassy?

Will a potential U.S. Embassy be able to hire Cuban nationals directly? Or will all Cuban nationals working at the Embassy have to be hired through SERVIMPORT, a Castro regime enterprise owned and operated by the Council of State?

Does the U.S. currently accept similar demands and restrictions from any other nation in the Western Hemisphere?

If not, how long before Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and other Cuban regime allies begin requiring similar restrictions?

Will Cuban democracy activists be welcome at a potential U.S. Embassy to continue receiving free Internet access? Will a potential U.S. Embassy continue hosting civil society workshops, e.g., independent journalism? Or will Cuban democracy and civil society activists be thrown by the wayside, like in every other aspect of the Obama-Castro deal?

It's time for details.