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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cuban Americans In Congress Blast Obama's Cuba Deal

While they are pleased with the release of Alan Gross, many in congress were not pleased with the President's newly announced Cuban foreign policy easing restrictions on travel, banking, exchanging ambassadors, etc.

Senator Menendez (D-NJ) who for another two weeks is Charmian of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee blasted the swap of Alan Gross for three Cuban criminals. Two were spies and the third also a spy was involved in the Cuban Govt. shooting down an airplane killing four Americans.

Menendez released a statement blasting Obama:
"This is a moment of profound relief for Alan Gross and his family. Mr. Gross' physical and mental health has declined severely as a result of his five-year imprisonment under difficult conditions. He should have been released immediately and unconditionally five years ago. He committed no crime and was simply working to provide internet access to Cuba's small Jewish community. His imprisonment was cruel and arbitrary, but consistent with the behavior of the Cuban regime.

“Let's be clear, this was not a "humanitarian" act by the Castro regime. It was a swap of convicted spies for an innocent American.

“President Obama's actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government. There is no equivalence between an international aid worker and convicted spies who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage against our nation. One spy was also convicted of conspiracy to murder for his role in the 1996 tragedy in which the Cuban military shot down two U.S. civilian planes, killing several American citizens. My heart goes out to the American families that lost love ones on that fateful day.

“Trading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips. I fear that today’s actions will put at risk the thousands of Americans that work overseas to support civil society, advocate for access to information, provide humanitarian services, and promote democratic reforms.

“This asymmetrical trade will invite further belligerence toward Cuba's opposition movement and the hardening of the government’s dictatorial hold on its people. Let us all remind ourselves that an untold number of ordinary people yearning for democracy remain imprisoned by the exact same tormentors that have punished Alan Gross and they, along with all Cubans, deserve a free and liberated Cuba."
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio was even harsher he was on Fox News earlier calling Obama's foreign policy “na├»ve” and “truly counterproductive for the future of democracy in the region. All of these tyrants around the world know that the U.S. can be had, that it’s a pretty easy deal”
“At minimum, Barack Obama is the worst negotiator that we’ve had as president since at least Jimmy Carter, and maybe in the modern history of the country.”

Those sentiments came on top of a statement released by Rubio’s office in which he asserted that “America will be less safe as a result of the president’s change in policy.”

“Governments now know that, if they can take an American hostage, they can get very significant concessions from the United States,” he said.

“It’s par for the course with an administration that is constantly giving away unilateral concessions, whether it’s Iran or, in this case Cuba, in exchange for nothing.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who herself fled Cuba from the Castro regime, said that Obama’s decision to unilaterally normalize relations with Cuba may be unconstitutional.
“It is quite possible that this unilateral action by the President without Congressional consultation is in violation of the following U.S. laws: Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996, Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, and the Trading with the Enemy Act,” Ros-Lehtinen, a former Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman, said in a statement.

“The White House attempts to normalize relationships with Cuba without the approval of Congress,” she said, “may be in direct violation of Helms-Burton that specifically states that all political prisoners must be released, and free and fair elections must be held before establishing a diplomatic relationship.”
Rep. Mario Diaz Balart, who comes from a prominent Cuban family also bashed Obama;
"Alan Gross should never have spent one day in prison and we are glad that he will finally be reunited with his family,” Diaz-Balart said on Wednesday. “However, the way that his release was achieved is outrageous and proves that once again, President Obama is the Appeaser in Chief who is willing to provide unprecedented concessions to a brutal dictatorship that opposes U.S. interests at every opportunity.

“The three remaining Cuban spies whom President Obama is releasing were convicted for spying on U.S. military installations, and one was convicted for his role in the shoot-down of an American civilian aircraft in international airspace, which murdered three innocent Americans and one U.S. resident,” Diaz-Balart added. “Their early release is an egregious miscarriage of justice. In addition, providing diplomatic relations and further weakening sanctions attempt to legitimize and provide hard currency to our hemisphere's worst human rights abuser. President Obama's actions are an unconscionable betrayal of America's fundamental values and a profound insult to the oppressed Cuban people.

“The unjust imprisonment and inhumane treatment of Alan Gross demonstrates the utter depravity of the Castro regime, as well as the severe repression that has afflicted the Cuban people for decades,” Diaz-Balart said. “President Obama's decision to allow the Castro regime to blackmail the United States and abandon our pro-democracy principles is an outrage. These changes to policy will further embolden the Cuban dictatorship to continue brutalizing and oppressing its own people as well as other anti-American dictatorship and terrorist organizations."
There is a major political battle brewing on Obamas diplomatic actions, and it will not be a Democrat vs. Republican battle, it will be those who want to keep the embargo vs those who want it removed.  In the end it will be congresses decision.

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