Jeff Flake

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Jeff Flake is a Republican Senator from Arizona.

Cuba Trip

Congressional Delegation meet with Cuban Foreign Minister, Felipe Perez Roque

From Dec. 15 - Dec. 18, 2006, a Congressional Delegation of ten congressmen and women from the U.S. House of Representatives visited Havana, Cuba. Leading the delegation were Jeff Flake and Bill Delahunt. The other participants were Hilda Solis, Jo Ann Emerson, Jerry Moran, Michael Conaway, Jane Harman, Lincoln Davis, Gregory Meeks and Jim McGovern. The delegation met with Cuban Foreign Minister, Felipe Perez Roque and other communist officials. The delegation asked to meet with Raul Castro during their weekend visit to Cuba, but there was no word on whether such a meeting would take place.[1]

Second Cuba trip

A delegation of American lawmakers led by Senator Patrick Leahy arrived in Cuba on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, in order to gauge the island's economic changes and to lobby on behalf of Alan Gross, an American whose detention has chilled relations between the two countries. The trip was the first to the Communist-run island by high-level US politicians since President Barack Obama's re-election in November.

The delegation also included, Republican senator Jeff Flake, the Democrat senators Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow and Sheldon Whitehouse and the Democratic congressmen James McGovern (Massachusetts) and Chris Van Hollen from Maryland, Gross's home state.[2]

Third Cuba trip

After returning from a three-day Senate Foreign Relations Committee trip to Cuba, in November 2014, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) pledged to continue working together in the Senate to open U.S. travel to and trade with Cuba, a potential new market for New Mexico, Arizona and other states. During the visit, the senators met with Cuban officials, including Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parilla, and religious and business leaders to discuss the impacts of the embargo and travel restrictions on American and Cuban families. The senators also visited Alan Gross, an American who has been held in a Cuban jail since 2009. In conversations with Cuban officials and American media outlets, the senators stressed that Alan Gross wants to come home.

"My recent trip to Cuba has only reconfirmed the necessity of modernizing our failed policy toward the island," Flake said. "While the significance of Cuba's recent economic changes remains to be seen, there is now a burgeoning small-business community there, much of which is funded by remittances from the United States. Rather than continuing to provide the regime an all-too-convenient scapegoat and wasting money on boondoggle aid programs, it's time to take commonsense steps to support these entrepreneurs, expand the participation of U.S. businesses in the Cuban economy, and lift the ban on non-Cuban American U.S. citizens travelling to the island. I was also pleased to have an opportunity to meet Alan Gross, and will continue to work for his release."[3]

Cuba's removal from terrorism list

Sen. Jeff Flake: Cuba’s Removal Was “Long Past Time,” Gives The Actual List More Meaning. “U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding Pres. Obama’s recommendation to Congress that Cuba be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism: ‘It's long past time to remove Cuba from the terrorism list. The list should mean something, and it means more now.’” [Flake Press Release, “Flake Statement on Pending Removal of Cuba from Terrorism List,” 4/14/15]

Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

S 299, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015, principal sponsors are Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.[4]

By May 20, it had accumulated 33 co-sponsors, mostly Democrats, but including 5 Republicans, and two Independents. [5]

Cuban Embassy soiree

It was remarkable how many non-Cubans knew the Cuban national anthem well enough to sing along July 2015 as the flag was raised over the newly re-established embassy on 16th Street NW. Then they joined in the delirious shouts of "Viva Cuba!"

"It's an amazing moment," said Phyllis Bennis, a fellow with the progressive think-tank, Institute for Policy Studies. "In the decades-long effort to normalise relations with Cuba, to stop the US attacks and hostility toward Cuba, we have not had so many victories. Suddenly we have a victory. The flag going up - that's huge."

“Hemingway would be proud,” said Scott Gilbert, an attorney who represented jailed American contractor Alan Gross, by way of compliment to the bartenders mixing the concoctions in a room named after the famed American ex-pat writer. “There’s a feeling today of joy, but also of disbelief,” Gilbert said. “So many people here thought this would never happen.”

Guests included Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.); plus administration types including deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. NBC anchor Andrea Mitchell slipped through the phalanx of protesters, camera crews, and folks celebrating just outside the gates.

“I’m excited,” said Danny Glover, who in addition to his “Lethal Weapon” roles has been part of numerous cultural delegations to Cuba. “This is the beginning of another narrative….What’s happened in the last 54 years is an insult to our intelligence as human beings and [American] citizens.”[6]

2016 Cuba visit

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 16 other House Democrats will join President Barack Obama on his historic trip to Cuba March 20-22.

Obama will be the first president to visit Cuba in 88 years, and the trip is a symbolic next chapter in his attempts to normalize relations with the country.

The House members will attend along with several senators who previously announced they will make the trip.

The House delegation includes Reps. Karen Bass, Cheri Bustos, Sam Farr, Rosa DeLauro, Barbara Lee, Charles Rangel, Kathy Castor, David Cicilline, Steve Cohen, Jan Schakowsky, Peter Welch, Alan Lowenthal, Jim McGovern and Lucille Roybal-Allard. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California will also travel to Cuba along with Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Tom Udall of New Mexico are slated to join the trip. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has been a leading advocate for normalizing relations with Cuba, will also attend. Additional House Republicans may also join.

Pelosi previously led the first official House delegation trip to the country after Obama announced the change in U.S. policy toward Cuba in 2014.[7]

IAPAC money

Senator Jeff Flake received money from the Iranian American Political Action Committee during the 2014, 2016, and 2018 election cycles.[8]

NIAC connection

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References