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Rubio, Rivera bash Cuba policy changes

Joining a chorus of South Florida Cuban-American conservatives, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio called President Barack Obama's easing of travel and remittances restrictions on Cuba "unthinkable" in a statement Friday afternoon.

"I believe that what does need to change are the Cuban regime's repressive policies towards the independent press and labor unions, its imprisonment of political prisoners and constant harassment of citizens with dissenting views, and its refusal to allow free multi-party elections," Rubio said. "It is unthinkable that the administration would enable the enrichment of a Cuban regime that routinely violates the basic human rights and dignity of its people."

Along the same lines, U.S. Rep. David Rivera, a Miami Republican and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, condemned the changes as "a unilateral concession that does nothing to solve the fundamental problems on the island."

"This policy will not lead to a better quality of life for the Cuban people or help grant them the freedoms that they so desperately need and want, it serves only to enrich the Cuban dictatorship," Rivera said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Mauricio Claver-Carone, head of the hardline U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, said the Obama administration's position is "nonsensical and irresponsible."

"At the time of the Castro regime's worst economic and political crisis in recent history -- and in defiance of the will of the U.S. Congress -- the Obama Administration has made a policy decision to bail it out," he wrote in a statement. "As such, the Obama Administration has succumbed to the Castro regime's blackmail."