Hillary Clinton will call for Congress to lift the Cuba embargo in a speech on Friday.

During the speech at Florida International University in Miami, a city with the largest Cuban population outside of the island nation, Clinton will “highlight that Republican arguments against increased engagement are part of failed policies of the past and contend that we must look to the future in order to advance a core set of values and interests to engage with Cubans and address human rights abuses,” the campaign said.

{mosads}The call escalates President Obama’s renewal of diplomatic relations with Cuba and would follow Obama’s own calls for Congress to lift the embargo after five decades of what he has called ineffective policy.

Only Congress can remove the longstanding restrictions barring most American businesses from operating in Cuba and keeping out many tourists to the island. The move seems nearly impossible in the short term, however, given the vocal opposition from some corners of Congress to Obama’s initial move to reestablish a U.S. embassy in Havana.

Clinton has previously expressed some support for abolishing the embargo, but had yet to formally adopt it as a plank of her platform.

Her announcement in Florida will provide a stark contrast with former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, two Floridians who are in the upper tier of GOP presidential candidates and have opposed the Obama administration’s moves on Cuba.

Shortly after the Clinton campaign’s announcement, Rubio released a statement comparing the move to what he called Clinton’s “failed ‘reset’” with Russia during her tenure as secretary of State. 

“President Obama and Secretary Clinton must learn that appeasement only emboldens dictators and repressive governments, and weakens America’s global standing in the 21st Century,” he said.

This month, Bush suggested that he would close the U.S. embassy in Cuba, and said that Cuban President Raúl Castro’s “repression” has only increased since Obama’s increased his outreach.

Clinton’s call to life the embargo threatens to alienate Clinton from an older generation of Cuban-Americans in South Florida, many of whom harbor harsh feelings about the Castro government and have opposed the Obama administration’s new policy. 

Tags Cuba Hillary Clinton United States embargo against Cuba
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