California Congressman Ed Royce joined me today to discuss the president’s decisions on Cuba, and what if any impact the North Korean move on Sony has on his agenda in the Foreign Affairs Committee in 2015:
HH: Joined now by Congressman Ed Royce. Congressman Royce is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Chairman, welcome, it’s great to have you back.
ER: Hugh, good to be with you.
HH: Your jurisdiction is much in the news, on Cuba and North Korea. Let’s start with Cuba. What is your reaction to the President’s decision to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba today?
ER: Well, it’s the way in which he’s doing it, Hugh, that’s so hard to believe, in terms of negotiating strategy. Up until now, what we’ve been trying to leverage out of the Cubans, and they’re really up against it, because Venezuela can no longer support them, we have been trying to get them to change their system so that workers in Cuba can actually get a direct paycheck from any company coming from the United States. So if you’re in the travel industry, and you’re going there to Cuba, the thing you should know is that you’re actually depositing the money in the account controlled by Raul Castro, who also controls the security forces there. The amount that a worker in Cuba gets paid can be as little as five cents on the dollar. The rest of it goes into their security apparatus. And that is used to maintain, you know, the control over the island, but also for all the skullduggery they’re involved in, in Latin America, Central America. I’m just back from South America and Central America, and the topic was Cuba’s attempts to overthrow governments down there. So why not negotiate something that would, that we’ve negotiated in the past with Vietnam, and with other countries like China? Why not at least do that for the workers if you’re going to give everything on our side of the ledger? Continue Reading