Sen. Rand Paul says trade with Cuba 'probably a good idea'

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Historic change in Cuba - +Joanne Chesimard US fugitive with asylum in Cuba
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Sen. Rand Paul says trade with Cuba 'probably a good idea'
HAVANA, CUBA - DECEMBER 17: Alan Gross on the tarmac with his wife, Judy Gross, attorney Scott Gilbert, Sen. Jeff Flake, (R-AZ), Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-VT) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, (D-MD) during his release December 17, 2014 at an airport near Havana, Cuba.. Obama announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, over 50 years after they were severed in January 1961. In a prisoner exchange, U.S. contractor Alan Gross was freed after being held in Cuba since 2009 and sent to Cuba three Cuban spies who had imprisoned in the U.S. since 2001. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
HAVANA, CUBA - DECEMBER 17: Alan Gross boards a government plane during his release December 17, 2014 at an airport near Havana, Cuba.. Obama announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, over 50 years after they were severed in January 1961. In a prisoner exchange, U.S. contractor Alan Gross was freed after being held in Cuba since 2009 and sent to Cuba three Cuban spies who had imprisoned in the U.S. since 2001. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
HAVANA, CUBA - DECEMBER 17: Alan Gross greets Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Az., Sen.and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. December 17, 2014 at an airport near Havana, Cuba.. Obama announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, over 50 years after they were severed in January 1961. In a prisoner exchange, U.S. contractor Alan Gross was freed after being held in Cuba since 2009 and sent to Cuba three Cuban spies who had imprisoned in the U.S. since 2001. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
HAVANA, CUBA - DECEMBER 17: Judy Gross greets her husband, Alan Gross, December 17, 2014 at an airport near Havana, Cuba.. Obama announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, over 50 years after they were severed in January 1961. In a prisoner exchange, U.S. contractor Alan Gross was freed after being held in Cuba since 2009 and sent to Cuba three Cuban spies who had imprisoned in the U.S. since 2001. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
HAVANA, CUBA - DECEMBER 17: A Cuban man reads the Granma, a Cuban communist party paper, as he has his shoes shined, shortly after a live broadcast a speech by Cuban President Raul Castro about the re-establishment of official diplomatic relations with the U.S., on December 17, 2014, in Havana, Cuba. It was also announced that Alan Gross, an American contractor for USAID, who had been in prison in Cuba for the past five years on spy charges, had been released and could return to the U.S. The U.S. released three Cuban agents of the so-called group 'The Cuban Five', who have been in prison for 16 years, and returned to Cuba. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - DECEMBER 17: Cuban school kids watch a live broadcast of the speech by Cuban President Raul Castro about the re-establishment of official diplomatic relations with the U.S., with a poster of the 'The Cuban Five' hanging on the wall on December 17, 2014, in Havana, Cuba. It was also announced that Alan Gross, an American contractor for USAID, who had been in prison in Cuba for the past five years on spy charges, had been released and could return to the U.S. The U.S. released three Cuban agents of the so-called group 'The Cuban Five', who have been in prison for 16 years, and returned to Cuba. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - DECEMBER 17: Cubans applaud and cheer after a speech by Cuban President Raul Castro about the re-establishment of official diplomatic relations with the U.S., under a poster of the 'The Cuban Five' on December 17, 2014, in Havana, Cuba. It was also announced that Alan Gross, an American contractor for USAID, who had been in prison in Cuba for the past five years on spy charges, had been released and could return to the U.S. The U.S. released three Cuban agents of the so-called group 'The Cuban Five', who have been in prison for 16 years, and returned to Cuba. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - DECEMBER 17: Alan Gross greets Patrick Leahy, (D-VT) Sen. Jeff Flake, (R-AZ), Sen.and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, (D-MD) December 17, 2014 at an airport near Havana, Cuba.. Obama announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, over 50 years after they were severed in January 1961. In a prisoner exchange, U.S. contractor Alan Gross was freed after being held in Cuba since 2009 and sent to Cuba three Cuban spies who had imprisoned in the U.S. since 2001. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
HAVANA, CUBA - DECEMBER 17: Alan Gross chats with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. as the final paperwork gets signed by a Cuban official on his release December 17, 2014 at an airport near Havana, Cuba.. Obama announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, over 50 years after they were severed in January 1961. In a prisoner exchange, U.S. contractor Alan Gross was freed after being held in Cuba since 2009 and sent to Cuba three Cuban spies who had imprisoned in the U.S. since 2001. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
HAVANA, CUBA - DECEMBER 17: Alan Gross on the tarmac with his wife, Judy Gross, attorney Scott Gilbert, Sen. Jeff Flake, (R-AZ), Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-VT) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, (D-MD) during his release December 17, 2014 at an airport near Havana, Cuba.. Obama announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, over 50 years after they were severed in January 1961. In a prisoner exchange, U.S. contractor Alan Gross was freed after being held in Cuba since 2009 and sent to Cuba three Cuban spies who had imprisoned in the U.S. since 2001. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until the Cuban people enjoy freedom – & not 1 second sooner
Alan Gross should've never been jailed. Obama’s unilateral move is propaganda coup 4 #Castro regime, may violate law http://t.co/tB9z0w6Pd0
Relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until the Cuban people enjoy freedom – & not 1 second sooner
There is no ‘new course’ here, only another in a long line of mindless concessions to a dictatorship. http://t.co/cjuXvwFET8 #Cuba
If anything, this emboldens all state sponsors of terrorism: http://t.co/cjuXvwFET8 #Cuba
Happy for Alan Gross & family but dismayed Obama admin agreed to release Cuban spies. Legitimizes Castro regime's coercive tactics.
The President has done it again, bypassing Congress and making changes on his own, this time to Cuba policy. http://t.co/1nJHiM7LRm
“I am pleased #AlanGross will be reunited with this family after suffering years of unjust imprisonment” http://t.co/sQ9k5alj7s #Cuba
I will do all in my power to block the use of funds to open an embassy in Cuba. Normalizing relations with Cuba is bad idea at a bad time.
I welcome the return of Alan Gross to the United States and celebrate his release from imprisonment
Since 1961, nine different Republican and Democrat presidents have opposed normalizing relations with Cuba
President Obama’s announcement is further evidence that his foreign policy objective is appeasement
The president’s action rewards the Castro regime at the expense of the Cuban people, who are denied fair elections and free speech
My statement on #Cuba & #AlanGross: http://t.co/96XNrJe2se
Diaz-Balart on Release of Alan Gross and Concessions by President Obama http://t.co/6mUiJr3g3B
Alan Gross. Back on U.S. soil. http://t.co/Ut5jvdQGg2
Alan and Judy Gross. Together again. Just before leaving Cuba this morning. #alangross http://t.co/cdIlIkYfF3
Great moment for @JebBush to condemn Castro brothers and stand for liberty and democracy abroad.
The Admin's decision to release three Cuban spies and seek normalized relations with Cuba is a dangerous mistake http://t.co/3jDourKGv1
The U.S. embargo against Cuba has a decades-long history. President Obama can gut the embargo, but he'll need Congressional approval to get rid of it.
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that starting to trade with Cuba "is probably a good idea" and that the lengthy economic embargo against the communist island "just hasn't worked."

Paul became the first potential Republican presidential candidate to offer some support for President Barack Obama's decision to try to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba. The president's surprise announcement on Wednesday was slammed by several potential GOP candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who said it amounted to appeasing the Castro regime.

Paul said in a radio interview with Tom Roten of News Talk 800 WVHU in Huntington, West Virginia, that many younger Cuban Americans support opening up trade with Cuba. He also said many U.S. farmers would back Obama's moves because the country is a new market for their crops.

"The 50-year embargo just hasn't worked," Paul said. "If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn't seem to be working and probably it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship.

"In the end, I think opening up Cuba is probably a good idea," he said.

Paul's comments parallel those of Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, who wrote in her book, "Hard Choices," that the embargo was a failure that gave the Castro regime "a foil to blame for Cuba's economic woes."

Obama said Wednesday he would ease economic and travel restrictions on Cuba and attempt to partner with Congress to end the trade embargo. His announcement came after Cuba released American Alan Gross, who had been imprisoned for five years, and a Cuban who had spied for the U.S. In exchange, the U.S. freed three Cubans jailed in Florida.

Related Gallery: Fidel Castro
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Fidel Castro public appearance
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Sen. Rand Paul says trade with Cuba 'probably a good idea'
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Fidel Castro, Cuba's former President and revolutionary leader, makes a rare public appearance to attend the inauguration of an art gallery on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
Still grab from a video taken on January 8, 2014 of former Cuban president Fidel Castro (C) and his wife Dalia Soto (L) during the inauguration of the nonprofit cultural centre Kcho Romerillo, Laboratory for Art in Havana. Cuban leader Fidel Castro has appeared in public for the first time in nine months, attending an art gallery opening near his home, the local press reported Thursday. The Cuban leader, who relinquished the presidency to his brother Raul in 2006 due to illness, last appeared in public in April when he opened a Havana school. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read --/AFP/Getty Images)
Cuban leader Fidel Castro feeds elephants at the Bronx Zoo during a visit to New York City, April 1959. (Photo by Meyer Liebowitz/New York Times/Getty Images)
Fidel Castro visits New York Fidel Castro waves to crowd outside Statler Hotel. (Photo By: John Duprey/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Fidel Castro visits New York. Fidel Castro outside Statler Hotel. (Photo By: Dan Farrell/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Cuba's Premier Fidel Castro and his Foreign Minister, Dr. Raul Roa, tune in the President's speech at United Nations. Later, Castro told reporters he has invited Khrushchev to visit Cuba. (Photo By: Frank Hurley/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 01: During a visit to the United States, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel CASTRO (left) meets with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel NASSER New York before CASTRO's departure for Havana (Cuba). (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Fidel Castro gives speech at New York airport
UNITED STATES - APRIL 01: The new strongman in Cuba, Fidel CASTRO, speaking to American journalists during a press conference in New York. His visit to the United States came soon after his overthrow of BATISTA and his taking power in Cuba (January 1959). He was received by Richard NIXON in Washington on April 15. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Fidel Castro visits New York. Castro & Dr. Grayson Kirk, pres. of Columbia University. (Photo By: John Duprey/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Still grab from a video taken on January 8, 2014 of former Cuban president Fidel Castro attending the inauguration of the nonprofit cultural centre Kcho Romerillo, Laboratory for Art in Havana. Cuban leader Fidel Castro has appeared in public for the first time in nine months, attending an art gallery opening near his home, the local press reported Thursday. The Cuban leader, who relinquished the presidency to his brother Raul in 2006 due to illness, last appeared in public in April when he opened a Havana school. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read --/AFP/Getty Images)
Still grab from a video taken on January 8, 2014 of former Cuban president Fidel Castro arrives for the inauguration of the nonprofit cultural centre Kcho Romerillo, Laboratory for Art in Havana. Cuban leader Fidel Castro has appeared in public for the first time in nine months, attending an art gallery opening near his home, the local press reported Thursday. The Cuban leader, who relinquished the presidency to his brother Raul in 2006 due to illness, last appeared in public in April when he opened a Havana school. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read --/AFP/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Fidel Castro, Cuba's former President and revolutionary leader, looks at the camera during a rare public appearance to attend the inauguration of an art gallery on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Fidel Castro, Cuba's former President and revolutionary leader, looks closely at an art piece during a rare public appearance to attend the inauguration of an art gallery on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Cubans cheer as Fidel Castro leaves after making a rare public appearance attending the inauguration of an art gallery, on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Fidel Castro, Cuba's former President and revolutionary leader, looks closely at an art piece during a rare public appearance to attend the inauguration of an art gallery on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Fidel Castro, Cuba's former President and revolutionary leader, makes a rare public appearance to attend the inauguration of an art gallery on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
P 361115 011 16Nov99 Havana, Cuba Fidel Castro Addresses Youth Attendees Of The Ibero-American Summit In Havana (Photo By Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
Bayamo, CUBA: (FILES) Cuban President Fidel Castro checks the weather by looking at the sky, as he delivers a speech on July 26th, 2006, at the Plaza de la Patria square in Bayamo, in the province of Granma, during a ceremony marking the 53rd anniversary of the assault on the Moncada barracks. Next 26 July, 2007 marks the first anniversary of Fidel Castro falling ill, for what he later underwent intestinal surgery and had to hand over power to his brother Raul. AFP PHOTO/Adalberto ROQUE TO GO WITH AFP STORY (Photo credit should read ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)
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