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House Foreign Affairs Chairman: Average Cuban Won't Benefit From Better U.S. Relations

"The problem in the Cuban system is that when foreign companies go in there, they write the check out to the account controlled by Fidel Castro and by his brother Raul."

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California Rep. Ed Royce, the chairman of the House of Representatives' Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that the relaxing of restrictions placed on Americans traveling to Cuba and the normalization of relations with the Communist nation will only lead to American money funding the Castro regime.

The California Republican rejected President Obama's comparison to previous normalizations with Vietnam and China in that the Cuban people would not be receiving the bulk of American money.

"Well, it was, and of course what we would have liked to see in that negotiation would be something like the negotiations that went on with Vietnam, that ensured that if we were gonna plow — or change policy and allow money to directly go into the country, that the workers would be the beneficiaries," said Royce on KNXAM radio Wednesday.

"The problem in the Cuban system is that when foreign companies go in there, they write the check out to the account controlled by Fidel Castro and by his brother Raul. It's the same with North Korea," Royce said. "And so it's very different — the president said this was like Vietnam and China, but they're completely different. In Vietnam and in China, the workers can actually get a paycheck. In North Korea and Cuba, the check goes to the regime, and the workers get as little as five percent of it. So it's not empowering the Cuban people, and that's why the negotiation really wasn't done properly."

"And that's what's different here," he added. "That's why we're upset with the outcome of the negotiation — the fact that there was very little given from the Cuban side in this negotiation, from Castro's side."

Royce said the average Cuban would not be benefiting from the normalized relation and the Castro regime would in turn use U.S. money to fund anti-Democratic campaigns in South America.

"My concern here is that by leaving this in the hands of Raul and Fidel Castro — they run the state security apparatus — two things are going to happen: the workers are gonna continue to get five percent of this, which means the average Cuban is not gonna benefit. But, if there's more largesse, well, the Cuban state is gonna get more. And that means that they're gonna use it for anti-democratic campaigns from Venezuela to Bolivia — all of their activities in Latin America that Cuba is engaged in — they need foreign exchange to do it. So that's sort of the issue here."

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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