The attorney President Donald Trump has chosen to lead his administration's most sensitive negotiations between the US and Cuba leads a set of nonprofits supporting stronger ties between the countries — a position at odds with Trump campaign statements.
Until December, Jason Greenblatt served as a senior vice president at the Trump Organization and acted as the corporation's chief legal officer. He was sworn in on Sunday as the White House's "special representative for international negotiations." Among that remit will be, according to CNN at the time the position was announced, "working on Israel-Palestinian peace process, the American relationship with Cuba and trade agreements."
Greenblatt and his family run both Triplets4ACause.com and InspireConversation.com. The former is a charity-driven site spearheaded by his 18-year-old triplets; the latter is a parenting website with profiles for all seven members of the family. (The family also serves as the collective co-author of a set of books of travel for families and a related website.)
Last April, the Triplets4ACause site posted an article calling for teens in US and Cuba to come together. "We are of Cuban heritage – our grandfather was born and raised there — and we are seeking to form deeper connections with Cuban teens by communicating, sharing experiences and bonding," the post reads.
And in 2014, InspireConversation asked readers to watch then-President Obama's speech announcing rapprochement with Cuba, calling it part of a "fascinating time in history."
"This is an important development to discuss with children old enough to understand it," the post reads. "Teens especially will be given an opportunity to explore a time in history that did much to color the diplomacy and international community of today. It also represents a chance for people who live so close, yet have become so distant, to reunite in an inspirational way."
"Most of the blogs are discussed at our own table," Inspire Conversation's "About This Website" section reads. "Our children have their own opinions about these topics. Many times they agree with one another (and with us), and other times there is respectful disagreement. Reading these blogs together with your children will be an excellent bonding experience."
The recommendation to have discussions about Cuba run up against the statements Trump made during the campaign, most of which slammed the Obama administration for its detente with the Castro government.
"All of the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them and that's what I will do if the Castro regime does not meet our demands," Trump said in September, pledging to close the newly reopened US Embassy in Havana.
Greenblatt himself travelled to Cuba between 2012 and 2013, Businessweek reported in July, to scout future investment potentials for the now-president's company.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Greenblatt's position on Cuba.
Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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