On Thursday, Fidel Castro turned 89. On Friday, the U.S. will reopen its embassy in Havana. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, an honorary Cuban American, said raising the stars and stripes in Cuba amounts to a present to the Cuban revolutionary.
The other Miamian seeking the 2016 GOP nomination, Cuban-American Marco Rubio, delivered a speech in New York on Friday morning pledging to roll back President Obama's Cuba policy, which Rubio referred to as "concessions." "We're going to open up to Cuba, but Cuba's not going to open up to us," Rubio said later on Fox News.
Here's Bush's statement:
Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Havana is a birthday present for Fidel Castro – a symbol of the Obama Administration’s acquiescence to his ruthless legacy. U.S. policy has changed, but Cuba has not. It remains an unyielding dictatorship, a tragic example of the folly of communism, and an affront to the conscience of the free nations of the Western Hemisphere.
The accommodation of the Castro regime comes at the expense of the freedom and democracy that all Cubans deserve, but Secretary Kerry’s visit is especially insulting for Cuba’s dissidents. That courageous Cubans whose only crime is to speak out for freedom and democracy will be kept away from the official ceremony opening the U.S. Embassy is yet another concession to the Castros.
We need an American president who will work in solidarity with a free Cuban people, if I am elected President, I will reverse Obama’s strategy of accommodation and appeasement and commit to helping the Cuban people claim their freedom and determine their future, free from tyranny. Standing up for fundamental human rights and democratic values should not be an afterthought to America’s Cuba policy, it should be its guiding principle.