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  • Opposing Rapprochement With Cuba

    by Representative Mario Diaz-Balart

    Posted on 2015-01-12

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    DIAZ-BALART. Let me first thank you, Madam Chairwoman, for your leadership. As we heard tonight, your leadership in the cause of freedom does not stop at the shores of Cuba. Wherever there is repression and oppression, there is the clear concise voice of Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, as we have heard again tonight.



    Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot. And I know that the time is getting short, but I want to quote somebody whom we have not quoted, as far as I remember here tonight, and this is President Obama. When Mr. Obama was running for President he stated what the right policy, what his policy would be to deal with the Cuban tyranny.

    He said: ``My policy towards Cuba will be guided by one word, `libertad'--freedom. And the road to freedom for all Cubans must begin with justice for Cuba's political prisoners, the right of free speech, a free press, freedom assembly, and it must lead to elections that are free and fair.'' Mr. Obama went on to say: ``I will maintain the embargo. It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice. If you take significant steps towards democracy, beginning with the freedom of all--all--political prisoners,'' Mr. Obama said, ``we will take steps to begin normalizing relations. That is the way to bring about real change in Cuba,'' Mr. Obama said, ``through strong, smart principled democracy.'' {time} 2130 Mr. Speaker, in essence, that day, then-candidate Obama, Senator Obama, and now-President Obama drew a red line about what the right policy was to deal with the Cuban regime; sadly, on December 17, President Obama announced that he was breaking that promise, that he was, once again, crossing--breaking--his own red line.

    We have heard tonight that we have also heard from the vast majority of the pro-democracy leaders within the island who are struggling. They have objected to President Obama's change of policy. Mr. Speaker, if President Obama doesn't want to do it for the sake of a future of freedom for the Cuban people, he should stand firm for the sake of the national security interests of the United States.

    As we have heard today--right now, as we speak, not 50 years ago--the Cuban regime harbors fugitives from American law, including cop killers and terrorists. What is President Obama's answer? ``No problem, we will normalize relations.'' The Cuban regime has an active espionage network against the interests of the United States. What is the President's answer to that? ``No problem, we will normalize. You can continue to do that.'' The Cuban regime shot down two American airplanes in international airspace; and for the people who are in prison, including one who was in prison for conspiracy to murder, not only is it okay--no problem, we will normalize--but no. We will send them back. You can go back home.

    Mr. Speaker, the night is late, but I know and I am confident that, unlike President Obama, this Congress will continue to stand firm with the cause of freedom and the cause of a free Cuba, even while President Obama does not.

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