December 8, 2019


It is outrageous that 55 senators endorsed a bill to lift all travel restrictions to communist Cuba without even asking for a single “Quid Pro Quo” from the regime. Even worse is the second bill to end the commercial embargo to Cuba, again without requesting a single “Quid Pro Quo from the communist regime. Cuban Americans voted 60% for Donald Trump in Florida. Cuban Americans were encouraged with the speeches of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump regarding his future policy on Cuba. Will the new Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, make the changes needed?

A veteran of the George W. Bush administration, Sullivan was originally chosen by Trump to be the top lawyer at the Defense Department. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

John J. Sullivan spoke during his Senate confirmation hearings, among many things, of his Cuban American wife’s uncle who spent over 20 years in prison in Cuba. He is still alive and is 92 years old.

Joel Gehrke wrote an article titled “Senate confirms John Sullivan as deputy secretary of state” which was published by the Washington Examiner on May 24, 2017. The reporter said that the Senate easily confirmed John Sullivan as Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resource with a 94-6 vote. Sullivan was originally chosen by President Donald J. Trump to be the top lawyer at the Defense Department. However, after a lengthy search for a deputy at the State Department, President Trump vetoed Secretary Rex Tillerson’s top choice, Elliot Abrams, due to Abrams’ criticism of Trump during the campaign. Sullivan was quickly reassigned to the Department of State.

The reporter indicated that according to the Heritage Foundation’s James Jay Carafano, Sullivan “doesn’t bring any policy agenda, and he isn’t part of any foreign policy tribe.” Carafano added that Sullivan “is a very talented, hard-working person of the highest order, super capable.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s small group of acting State Department bureau chiefs has done a capable job addressing major issues, according to Carafano, who admitted that the pace of confirmations at the State Department needs to pick up. It is well known that Senate Democrats have successfully delayed almost all President Trump’s appointments.

John Sullivan is a nephew of the late Ambassador William Healy Sullivan, who served as Ambassador to Laos from 1964 to 1969, the Philippines from 1973 to 1977, and Iran from 1977 to 1979. During his testimony while being confirmed, in addition to mentioning his wife Grace Rodríguez’ uncle, who spent over 20 years in a Cuban prison, Sullivan stated the following:

“A small number of public servants are accepted into the Foreign Service, which I know well. My uncle Bill Sullivan was a Foreign Service Officer for 32 years. He was the last U.S. Ambassador to Iran in the late 1970s. It was his staff in Tehran that was taken hostage on November 4, 1979—a few months after the President had recalled him.”

“It is an earlier date from 1979, however, that sticks out in my mind: February 14, Valentine’s Day. The U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overrun by a mob, and my uncle and his staff were seized. After a few hours, the Americans were released and the embassy reopened. My uncle appeared in a picture on the cover of the next issue of Newsweek. He was surrounded by Iranians carrying assault weapons, one of whom was brandishing a bayonet in his face.”

“That day in 1979 is significant to me not merely because of the drama in Iran, but also because of a tragedy in Afghanistan. Our Ambassador, Spike Dubs, was kidnapped and assassinated in Kabul. Like my uncle, Ambassador Dubs was a U.S. Navy World War II veteran and a career Foreign Service Officer. The assassination of Ambassador Dubs and the seizure of our embassy in Tehran on February 14, 1979, made a huge impression on me. I have remained in awe of our Foreign Service Officers who venture into such dangerous places on our behalf.”

“If confirmed, it would be my highest honor to work with the Foreign Service, the Civil Service, and the Department’s locally employed staff in the conduct of American diplomacy. In a world in which we face significant and enduring threats, these challenging times require leadership from the United States. As Secretary Tillerson said when he came before this committee, “to achieve the stability that is foundational to peace and security in the 21st century, American leadership must not only be renewed, it must be asserted.”

Senator Bob Corker (Republican from Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) made the following remarks at the Senate hearing regarding the nomination of John J. Sullivan to serve as deputy secretary of state: “Thank you for appearing before the committee today, Mr. Sullivan, and for your willingness to serve our country once again…The person who occupies this position will serve as the chief advisor to Secretary Tillerson, as secretary in his absence, and as the principal officer for management of personnel and resources at the State Department. Given recent management, budgetary, and information technology challenges, this is no small task.”

“Fortunately, the president has nominated someone who has an extensive background in federal service. Having served at the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and as deputy secretary of commerce, I believe Mr. Sullivan has the knowledge base necessary to understand the inner workings of a large federal bureaucracy and the capacity to manage multiple priorities at the deputy level. Mr. Sullivan also has developed a reputation in the legal field as an authority on trade and national security issues.”

“If confirmed, Mr. Sullivan will be re-entering government service at a highly precarious time in world history. From Europe, to the Middle East, to East Asia, we are witnessing a number of major threats to global security and stability. These events give rise to a common question: what will America’s role be? We are at a crucial point where we can decide to lead from the front with bold action, or simply observe what happens from the sidelines and hope for the best. It is my hope that we will choose to appropriately engage on the hard problems, that we will restore U.S. credibility, and that we will provide strong, pragmatic leadership on the world stage.”

Who is John Sullivan?

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John Sullivan

John Sullivan was born on November 20, 1959 and was raised in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a lawyer in private practice who has served in several government positions.

John Sullivan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from Brown University in 1981 and his Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School in 1985. He served as law clerk for Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter. In 1991, Sullivan worked in the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice. The following year he worked in the 1992 reelection campaign of President George H. W. Bush.

In 1993, John Sullivan joined the Washington, D. C. law firm of Mayer Brown and later became a partner in the firm. Sullivan has practiced Supreme Court law and is co-chair of the firm’s National Security practice. According to his firm’s biography, Sullivan has served as a senior adviser to four presidential campaigns. He advises chief executive officers and general counsels of major corporations on U.S. sanctions and export controls, international trade disputes and regulations, and foreign investment in America, Russia, the Middle East, and other countries.

John Sullivan’s clients include major oil and gas companies; consulting, accounting, and financial services firms; petrochemical companies; and manufacturers. He has represented these clients before executive departments and agencies of the United States. Sullivan has advised multinational corporations as to how conduct business in Russia, Iran, Iraq, and Cuba with respect to security policies and risk issues in countries with a high threat of terrorism, violence, and political instability.

In February 2004, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appointed Sullivan as Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Defense. In this capacity, he was responsible for all litigation involving the Department of Defense and for counsel on major criminal and congressional investigations. During his service in the Department of Defense, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense’s Medal for Exceptional Public Service.

Later, Sullivan served as General Counsel of the Department of Commerce. As the department’s chief legal officer and Designated Agency Ethics Official, Sullivan managed the work of over 400 lawyers in the 14 legal offices providing legal advice to all components of the department. Upon the resignation of Deputy Secretary David Sampson, Sullivan was assigned as Acting Deputy Secretary beginning on September 1, 2007.

Later, Sullivan served in a permanent capacity when he was confirmed by the Senate on March 14, 2008. Sullivan managed a $6.8 billion budget and 38,000 employees in 13 operating units. John Sullivan served from 2010 to 2016 as the Chair of the United States-Iraq Business Dialogue, a governmental advisory committee on United States economic relations with Iraq.

Bacardi CEO Rubén Rodríguez Wallin died on May 5, 2016 at the age of 79.

John Sullivan and his Cuban American wife, Grace Rodríguez, have three children and live in Maryland. Grace is the daughter of the late Bacardi CEO, Rubén Rodríguez Wallin.

Senators proposed eliminating all restrictions on travel to Cuba

On May 26, 2017, Nora Gámez Torres wrote an article titled “50 U.S. senators proposed eliminating all restrictions on travel to Cuba” which was published on the Miami Herald. The reporter said, “as the Cuba policy review reaches its final stage, politicians, companies and organizations that support the policy of engagement are making an extra effort to send this message to Donald Trump: Mr. President don’t eliminate opportunities to travel to the island.”

Gámez Torres explained that senators Jeff Flake (Republican from Arizona) and Patrick Leahy (Democrat from Vermont) reintroduced a bill on May 25, 2017 to eliminate all prohibitions on travel to Cuba. This bill has now the support of 55 senators from both political parties. She wrote that the bill would remove all restrictions for American citizens and residents on travel to Cuba. It would also authorize banking transactions made by travelers. A separate bill was introduced to lift the trade embargo.

A few years ago, Senator Leahy asked Obama to send the frozen sperm of Cuban spy Gerardo Hernández, who was serving at the time two life imprisonment sentences for his participation in the assassinations of four Cuban American pilots from Brothers to the Rescue organization. These pilots were shot down in international waters by two Cuban Migs. This horrendous crime, which was directed by Cuban dictator Raúl Castro and his late brother Fidel Castro, has been committed with complete impunity. Obama shamefully agreed to the outrageous request from Senator Leahy to send the frozen sperm of this Cuban spy, who he later released at the request of the cruel dictator Raúl Castro, to his wife in Panama so that she could be artificially inseminated, not once but twice. The wife was also a member of the Cuban Intelligence Services. Never in the history of the annals of American diplomacy had such an outrageous and unprecedented action been done. The Obama-Leahy sperm diplomacy was done to appease a bloody dictator.

Gerardo Hernandez, right, a member of “The Cuban Five,” touches the belly of his pregnant wife, Adriana Perez, during a concert in Havana on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. The pregnancy came through artificial insemination while Hernandez was being held in the U.S.

Gerardo Hernández a member of “The Cuban Five Spies,” touches the belly of his pregnant wife, Adriana Perez, during a concert in Havana December 20, 2014. The pregnancy came through artificial insemination while Hernández was in a U.S. jail. How hard it must have been to the relatives of the four Cuban American pilots who were shot in the air thanks to Hernández to see this picture!

Gerardo Hernández, who was the top Cuban spy in a ring known as the Wasp Network, was shown on Cuban television several times, starting with his arrival in Havana, “caressing his wife’s very pregnant belly”. Hernández was shown again along with the other four Cuban freed spies, two of whom were released from prison in years past, at the closing session of the National Assembly presided over by dictator Raúl Castro, who requested a prolonged applause for the returned spies. Then a third time, Hernández appeared as a guest at a concert offered by a pro-communist singer Silvio Rodríguez. Hernández’s wife, a member of the intelligence services of Cuba gave birth two weeks thanks to Obama and Leahy.

Obama’s shameful concessions to the bloody the regime without a “Quid Pro Quo” resulted in an increase of the number of Americans traveling to Cuba, an increase of 118% compared to the same period last year. In 2016 more than 280,000 Americans travelled to the island prison.

The increase of traveling to Cuba by Americans enriches the oppressive regime that owns hotels, tourist buses, airplanes, etc. that cater to tourists. It gives oxygen to the worse and longest tyrannical regime in the Western Hemisphere.


It is outrageous that 55 senators endorsed a bill to lift all travel restrictions to communist Cuba without even asking for a single “Quid Pro Quo” from the regime. Even worse is the second bill to end the commercial embargo to Cuba, again without requesting a single “Quid Pro Quo from the communist regime.

Shamefully, none of the 55 senators have done anything to advance the defense of human rights and the fundamental liberties of the Cuban people. These senators have not supported the opponents of the regime, who reject unilateral concessions to the communist regime with nothing in return. These senators have not supported the Cuban patriots who want democracy and freedom.

These senators have not demanded the release of all political prisoners. Political prisoner Armando Sosa Fortuny has been incarcerated for 40 years. Some others, such as the uncle of John Sullivan’s wife, have been imprisoned for more than 20 and even 30 years.

These 55 senators have not demanded that Cuba respect each and every one of the human rights that are recognized by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Cuba signed many years ago. These 55 senators have not demanded the dismantling of the secret police operated by thugs of the Cuban secret police (which in Cuba is called Seguridad del Estado) who oppresses the Cuban people.

These 55 senators have not demanded free and fair elections and the establishment of a democratic nation in the Fatherland of José Martí. The actions of these 55 senators, as well as Obama’s concessions to the communist regime, will be remembered as another infamy committed to Cubans within and outside the island who fight for freedom and liberty.


President Obama smiled to his new friend the bloody dictator Raúl Castro in Panama.

Former President Obama stated when he restored diplomatic relations in Cuba and began illegally dismantling the commercial embargo that it would bring an end to the repressive Cuban regime. He knew that this was not true. China and Vietnam were recognized diplomatically by the United States and multinationals invested heavily in those two nations. Yet, as the economy improved in China and Vietnam, those tyrannical regimes continued to persecute their opponents and fail to establish a democracy. If anything, by improving economically, totalitarian regimes are given more power and resources to continue to oppress their people.

It is very sad that Obama’s unilateral concessions have helped the Cuban communist regime to continue to oppress the people. It has not resulted in an opening to democracy in the island. Therefore, Obama’s Cuban policy has failed. The Cuban regime has increased its repression against peaceful opponents since the normalization of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.

Dictator Raúl Castro, according to opponents of the tyrannical regime, believes that since President Trump has continued thus far with the Obama’s policy with Cuba, he can continue sending soldiers to Venezuela to assist the bloody Maduro regime continue assassinating brave Venezuelans. These freedom fighters have been demonstrating for almost 60 days in the bloody streets of cities all over the country. Cuba and Venezuela represent a threat to America’s security. The 55 senators’ actions will be remembered as another infamy committed to Cubans within and outside the island that fight for freedom and liberty.

The appointment of John Sullivan as Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resource is very positive. First, these two positions, which are now filled with a very competent individual, were very crucial for the Department of State.

Second, the fact that Sullivan’s wife Grace Rodríguez’s uncle served over 20 years in prison in Cuba and this was mentioned by John Sullivan during his confirmation hearings in the Senate, indicates that he is aware of the terrible oppression of the bloody the Castro regime. Sullivan’s late father-in-law has discussed many times the situation in Cuba. It is important to have a high official at the Department of State with knowledge on Cuba.

Third, the National Security Council of the White House has been working with the Department of State and other agencies to formulate President Trump’s policy vis-à-vis Cuba. This Cuban policy review is reaching the end. In fact, it has been delayed for too long! All the shameful unilateral concessions by President Barack Obama which still remaining effect to the tyrannical communist regime in Cuba in return for nothing, has brought except repression and more arbitrary arrests of peaceful.

During the campaign, Donald J. Trump promised to reverse, if not all, most of these unwise concessions by the previous administration. Cuban Americans voted 60% for Donald Trump in Florida. Cuban Americans were encouraged the speeches of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump regarding his future policy on Cuba. This policy has been under review for several months and Cuban Americans throughout the United States are anxious to see what will be the new policy of the Trump administration regarding the island of their birth or the birth of their parents and grandparents.