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Miami's Cuban-American members of Congress slam Obama over Cuba terror designation change

@PatriciaMazzei

The trio of Miami Cuban-American Republicans in Congress -- Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen -- were quick to denounce the White House's decision Tuesday to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Congress has 45 days to block the action, if it can find enough support -- a veto-proof majority -- to do so, which seems unlikely.

Here are statements from the three representatives:

CURBELO

The Obama Administration decision to delist Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism is deplorable but not surprising. This action is not based on facts or on different circumstances and it does not advance the national security interests of the United States. Instead it is yet another reward to the Cuban dictatorship for taking an American hostage and consistently opposing U.S. interests all over the world. In pursuit of a legacy, the Obama Administration is advancing a reckless foreign policy agenda that weakens our country and its allies. 

Removal from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list is just the latest, undeserved concession the Obama Administration has made towards Cuba.  The Castro dictatorship is complicit in the murder of Americans over international waters, provides sanctuary to FARC and ETA terrorists, and harbors criminals from the U.S. justice system, including fugitives on the FBI’s Terrorist list.  In just the past year, Cuba was caught red-handed shipping illegal weapons to North Korea with another shipment likely to FARC terrorists in Colombia. 

President Obama is ignoring the realities and the nature of the Castro regime in a desperate attempt to sculpt his legacy through Cuba.  Unfortunately in his desperation, President Obama is putting American national security interests at risk and prolonging the suffering of the Cuban people living under the oppressive dictatorship.

DIAZ-BALART

Once again, President Obama has demonstrated that his eagerness to capitulate to dictators has no bounds.  Today, the administration has jeopardized U.S. national security by choosing to absolve the Castro dictatorship of its dangerous anti-American terrorist activities across the globe.  The Castro regime's extensive espionage activities, shoot-down of unarmed civilian aircraft in international waters, assistance to the Maduro regime in oppressing the opposition and subverting Venezuela's democratic institutions, harboring members of terrorist organizations such as the FARC and ETA, harboring fugitives from U.S. justice including terrorists Joanne Chesimard and William Guillermo Morales, and weapons smuggling in violation of international sanctions are just a few of the Castro regime's links to terrorism. The facts clearly show the Castro regime continues to be a state sponsor of terrorism. This is just another shameful concession to the Castro regime. Fortunately, most sanctions against the Castro regime are codified in U.S. law and can only be lifted by the U.S. Congress, when free, fair elections are scheduled, independent labor unions, political parties, and the press are legalized, and all political prisoners are freed. 

According to reports, the President has pressured the intelligence and foreign policy communities to ignore the dangerous activities of the Cuban dictatorship so that he can provide another gift to an enemy of the United States and put Americans at even greater risk. I am alarmed by his endless concessions to not only the Castro regime, but also numerous enemies of the United States, such as Iran. The longsuffering Cuban people, who continue to struggle for the realization of human rights and democracy in Cuba, and the American people, living with an aggressive anti-American dictatorship 90 miles from our shores, deserve much better from the President.

ROS-LEHTINEN

Since President Obama came into power, his administration’s policy toward the Castro regime has been: ask, and you shall receive. As expected, the Obama administration has indicated its intent to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terror list, but this is being done only for political reasons and not in accordance with the law. 

For months, the Obama administration deceived the American people by conveying that opening embassies and the SST designation were not linked in these misguided talks. But this unwise decision to remove Cuba from the SST list illustrates that the Obama administration is willing to concede to the demands of the Castro brothers in order to set up an embassy in Cuba. Removing Cuba from the terrorist list does not help the Cuban people as they are still left oppressed and without even basic human rights while emboldening its oppressors. 

Recently, Castro thugs beat U.S. citizens and Cuban pro-democracy activists in Panama and now the regime is being rewarded for such actions by being removed from the SST list. This removal will only undermine U.S. national security and send a signal to the Cuban people that, instead of disapproving of the Castro regime’s methods, the U.S. is rushing to embrace two decrepit tyrants in their twilight. Sadly, President Obama’s decision to remove Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terror list is based on politics and not facts.

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