A picture of Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Ileana R.
Republican FL 27

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  • Cuba

    by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

    Posted on 2016-01-12

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    ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, as we get further away from December 17, 2014, the date that President Obama announced his change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, it has become apparent that there could be no abusive or provocative act committed by the tyrannical Castro regime that the Obama administration is not willing to overlook or willing to excuse.

    Even after the Cuban regime was caught red-handed shipping surface- to-air missiles, two MiG aircraft, and tons of Cuban-made weapons and munitions to North Korea in violation of several U.N. Security Council resolutions, it could not stop President Obama's desire to placate the Castros.

    This and the most recent revelation that the United States Government found out in June of 2014 that Cuba managed to come into possession of a [[Page H285]] U.S. Hellfire missile and continues, to this day, to turn over that sensitive military technology are not isolated events. Both incidents underscore exactly how egregiously the administration has erred and the extraordinary lengths to which the President will go in order to hide these transgressions from Congress and from the American people.

    {time} 1015 You see, Mr. Speaker, after the President made his December 17, 2014, announcement, it has been revealed that not only did the administration keep Congress uninformed of the negotiations, but the negotiations had been taking place for over a year and a half.

    If we follow the timeline, that means that these secret negotiations were taking place after the administration was already made aware that the Castros were in possession of a U.S. Hellfire missile and after Havana sent the illicit shipment of arms to Pyongyang.

    Even after the administration offered concession after concession to the Castros--the loosening of restrictions on travel, the opening of Embassies--the list goes on and on--the President refused to make the returning of sensitive missile technology a precondition to the negotiations or to the implementation of this misguided policy.

    Let's stop and think about this for a second, Mr. Speaker.

    The President has given the Castro regime almost everything it could have asked for. What did we ask for in return? Did we demand free and fair elections? Of course not. Did we demand the end of the persecution of dissidents and the release of political prisoners? You have got to be kidding. Of course not. Did we demand the regime stop the long list of human rights abuses? No.

    In fact, just this past Sunday, over 200 people were arrested in Cuba because they were calling for religious tolerance. But never mind that. Let's look at the cool, classic Chevys that are all through the streets of Havana. That is what we are supposed to be talking about.

    The President didn't even demand that the Communist regime, with known and close military ties to Russia, China, and North Korea, turn over to the U.S. the Hellfire missile it had been in possession of since June of 2014.

    I don't need to remind my colleagues of how incredibly dangerous it is for the Castros to be in possession of this sensitive military technology or how incredibly damaging it could be to our own national security interests when, not if, the regime turns that technology over to one of our adversaries.

    Last year both the Russian Minister of Defense and China's top military official visited Havana to discuss ways to strengthen their military cooperation efforts with Cuba, and a senior Castro regime official traveled to North Korea for military talks.

    Mr. Speaker, not only has the President's Cuban policy been a disaster for the people of Cuba, it has been a disaster for our own safety and security. There should be--there must be--a full and thorough investigation into this Hellfire missile incident. If this administration won't do what is necessary to hold the Cuban regime accountable, then we in Congress must use every available tool in order to do so.

    We cannot allow the administration's endless train of concessions to the tyrannical Cuban regime to continue while it turns its back on those who are suffering under the regime's oppression. This is not what America stands for, and we should not allow President Obama's misguided foreign policy objectives to ever change that.


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