Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) on Wednesday said he is not likely to keep open a U.S. embassy in Cuba should he win the presidency next year.
Bush’s remarks came during an interview with the editorial board of The New Hampshire Union Leader in Manchester.
“Probably not,” he said when asked about maintaining an active embassy in Havana, according to The Miami Herald.
President Obama announced last week that the U.S. and Cuba would continue to reestablish diplomatic ties by opening new embassies in each other’s countries.
“This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people,” Obama said on July 1.
“We don’t have to be imprisoned by the past,” he added. “When something isn’t working, we can and will change.”
Bush said he is giving Obama “the benefit of the doubt” when it comes to his rapprochement with Cuba’s government.
“I haven’t given thought about undoing a work in progress,” he said.
Bush then argued that the U.S. is not seeing much benefit from its warmer posture toward Havana.
“We’re negotiating without getting anything in return,” he said.
“While we’re negotiating, the repression has actually increased,” Bush said of human rights under Cuban leader Raúl Castro.
“I have a lot of friends who have suffered a lot,” he added.
Obama did not specify a date for the embassies’ reopening during his remarks on July 1. Cuba’s government has said that both nations will unveil their new diplomatic hubs on July 20.
The White House initially announced it was ending hostilities with Cuba late last year.
The Obama administration cleared a major obstacle to the thaw’s success by formally dropping Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism in May.
The U.S. and Cuba had been bitter rivals since the start of the Cold War over five decades ago.