President Obama is sending two senior officials to represent the United States at a service on Tuesday for the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro. But don’t call it an official delegation, the White House insisted.
“I can tell you that the president has decided not to send a presidential delegation to attend the memorial service today,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. “I can tell you, however, that Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes will attend the service, as will the top U.S. diplomat in Cuba, Jeff DeLaurentis.”
Rhodes was one of the key architects of the secret diplomacy with Cuba that led to the stunning December 2014 announcement that the two Cold War adversaries would renew diplomatic relations and pursue deeper economic ties. Obama nominated DeLaurentis, the top U.S. official at the embassy in Havana, to be ambassador, but Republicans have blocked the nomination.
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