Sen. Menendez on U.S.–Cuba Embassy Announcement

US SenateNewark, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) issued the following statement in reaction to the latest announcements by the Obama administration regarding the U.S.–Cuba relationship, including the opening of embassies:

“Today’s announcement cannot be considered normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States if it fails to speak to key issues such as whether all U.S. diplomats will be restricted from moving freely throughout the island, if the U.S. government will be limited in the number of diplomats assigned to staff an embassy, or if diplomatic mail can be searched and potentially seized by Cuban authorities. Once again the regime is being rewarded while they jail dissidents, silence political opponents, and harbor American fugitives and cop killers. Our demands for freedoms and liberty on the island will continue to be ignored and we are incentivizing a police state to uphold a policy of brutality. It is long past due for the United States to require concessions and changes from Cuba and thus far, we have seen neither. A policy of the United States giving and the Castro brothers freely taking is not in our national interest and not a responsible approach when dealing with repressive rulers that deny freedoms to its people. An already one-sided deal that benefits the Cuban regime is becoming all the more lopsided.”

“This is the only government in the Western Hemisphere, which the Obama administration has chosen to establish relations with, that is not elected by its citizens. The message is democracy and human rights take a back seat to a legacy initiative.”

 

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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