December 17, 2014 / 7:27 PM / 3 years ago

Republican Senator Flake: most U.S. lawmakers back Cuba policy change

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, who flew back from Cuba with released American aid worker Alan Gross, said on Wednesday he believed most of his fellow lawmakers favored a change in U.S. Cuba policy.

"My sense is that most of my colleagues feel we are long past due, and so I think the politics are good," Flake, an Arizona Republican, told a news conference.

He said it would be a mistake to not open a U.S. embassy in Cuba or approve an ambassador to the island nation.

Flake was at odds with his Senate Republican colleague Marco Rubio, who lambasted U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to normalize relations with Havana and vowed to oppose any move to lift the decades-old U.S. embargo on Cuba.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Susan Heavey

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