Arizona Senator Flake Accompanies Obama On Historic Cuba Trip

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Monday, March 21, 2016 - 5:44pm
(Photo courtesy of the Office of Rep. Jeff Flake)
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, R- Ariz.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake is one of a few dozen lawmakers accompanying President Barack Obama on his trip to Cuba this week.

Sen. Flake said landing in Cuba on Air Force One was, for him, a memorable site.

“Watching the president and his advisers looking out the window as we landed, and the excitement of that,” Flake said. 

Flake said the trip is an historic one that brings together business and political leaders in an effort to better diplomatic relations. He also said increased trade could be one benefit to the rest of the country. But in Arizona, it’s also a matter of cultural relations.

“Our ability to deal with the rest of Latin America very much depends on our relationship with Cuba," he said. "It’s been a real sore point in our relationship with some of these countries.”

Flake said while more business opportunity is a good thing, he hopes the trip will open up more travel for anyone who wants to go to Cuba.

“Ordinary Arizonans who want to visit Cuba for humanitarian reasons, for religious reasons, for people-to-people contact," he said. "And just because American’s ought to be able to travel wherever they want, and that’s, I think, the principle that should govern here.”

He also thinks that while some may criticize creating diplomatic ties with what formerly was a Communist regime, he finds it a necessary step toward mending relations and opening trade.

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