Typically, presidents don't make sweeping policy decisions or diplomatic agreements with foreign countries in the final days of their tenure in the White House. President Barack Obama's final days, however, have been anything but typical.
The State Department, under Obama's direction, signed a new law-enforcement agreement with Cuba Monday that seeks to deepen America's newfound diplomatic roots with the island nation, according to USA Today. The move comes in the last four days of Obama's second term as commander in chief.
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The agreement outlines U.S.-Cuban cooperation on a wide range of criminal and security-related issues, including terrorism, narcotics, cyber-security, immigration, money laundering, smuggling and human trafficking.
Notably, the agreement did not include a return of U.S. fugitives that Cuba has harbored, including New Jersey cop killers, Black Panther hijackers and Puerto Rican terrorists. Cuba's continued protection of those fugitives has been a major source of congressional opposition to President Obama's Cuban policy.
According to the Washington Examiner, Obama's deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, also a close confidant of the outgoing president, went to Cuba to finalize the agreement with Cuba's communist Castro regime.
The new law enforcement agreement comes just one week after the Department of Homeland Security announced it was ending the two-decade-old policy known as "wet foot, dry foot" that allowed Cubans permanent residency in the U.S. if they safely made it to American soil. The Obama administration argued that the policy had to end if the U.S. wanted to better its diplomatic ties with Cuba.
However, it doesn't appear that Cuba is planning to make many concessions in return for the restoration of diplomatic ties with America. In fact, many Cuban-American congressmen, such as Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have been increasingly outspoken against Obama's diplomatic moves with Cuba, arguing that while the Castro regime is benefitting, the Cuban people are still suffering at the hands of their government.
And while many Americans, especially those with ties to the island nation, are concerned about the Cuban people, the Obama administration has been very clear about the end goal of their Cuban policy: to make it "irreversible," according to Rhodes.
Rhodes reiterated last month that Obama's foreign policy with Cuba has been designed to be as "irreversible" as possible for President-elect Donald Trump.