Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

I will update this article as new people are announced as part of President Elect Obama’s staff and related leadership positions. I have made this article “sticky” which means that it will stay as the top story until I decide to “unstick” it from the top spot. I will update the date in the title when I add a new person.

I will do my best to find their voting records and any public comments they have made in the past regarding Cuba so we can all discover how these new people think and vote with regards to Cuba policy. I would expect to see most of them voting against the Embargo since they are Democrats but it’s good to see it in writing in one place. So, check back after you hear more announcements from the Obama Administration.

So far, I could not find any votes by President Elect Obama regarding Cuba policy. Please leave a comment below if you have a link to a vote by him on Cuba policy.

1. Rahm Emanuel - Chief of Staff

Voted YES along with Congressmen Jeff Flake and William Delahunt on H AMDT 270: Bans Use of Funds to Enforce Cuba Regulations Amendment


As a side story: two Republicans, Roy Blunt and Adam Putnam of Florida are leaving their leadership positions so I thought I’d look into their voting records.

They both voted NO on H AMDT 270: Bans Use of Funds to Enforce Cuba Regulations Amendment and Bill HR 2590 ; vote number 2001-270 on Jul 25, 2001

Video clip of Barack Obama speech regarding Cuban American travel to Cuba.

2. Tom Dashcle to be Health Secretary - UPDATE 11/19

Obama Picks Daschle as health secretary. Here are a couple articles regarding Daschle’s trip to Cuba in 1999. He is in favor of lifting the trade sanctions.

From the BBC in 1999 - Two of the most senior US politicians to visit Cuba in recent years have said they will push for a move to ease economic sanctions and allow the communist-ruled island to buy US food and medicines. Senator Tom Daschle, the leader of the Democrats in the US Senate, said on returning to Washington that he would work to lift the embargo on shipments of food and medicine.

and from the LA Times in 1999 - The Senate voted, 70-28, last month to lift restrictions on sales of food and medicine to Cuba. After the vote, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., met in Havana for seven hours with Cuban President Fidel Castro, then returned to Washington to call on the House to pass similar legislation. Daschle is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Cuba in decades.

3. Bill Richardson to be Secretary of Commerce - UPDATE 11/23

Former Democratic Presidential candidate and current Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson has been named Secretary of Commerce replacing Carlos Gutierrez. Bill Richardson is on record in favor of easing Cuba travel restrictions and has met with Fidel Castro in Cuba. He replaces the extremely pro-Embargo Gutierrez.

4. Eric Holder for Attorney General and Greg Craig for White House counsel - UPDATE 11/23

From the Miami Herald article:

“Two veterans of the Elián González saga are expected to be named to top posts in Democrat Barack Obama’s administration, infuriating some Cuban-American Republicans who haven’t forgotten the 6-year-old boy seized in Miami and sent back to the communist regime. The Associated Press is reporting that Obama’s top choice for U.S. attorney general is Eric Holder, who served as deputy attorney general during the 2000 raid in Miami. Greg Craig, who represented González’s father in the custody battle, is expected to be named White House counsel.”