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Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: 'Cuba poses a clear and present danger to the United States'

At a congressional hearing reviewing President Barack Obama's Cuba policy, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told members of the Western Hemisphere subcommittee that the Castro regime "undermines our national security at every turn."

"Let me be clear," Ros-Lehtinen said in prepared remarks. "Cuba poses a clear and present danger to the United States."

Read her complete remarks after the jump.

Thank you Mr. Chairman, for calling this important and timely hearing. Let me be clear: Cuba poses a clear and present danger to the United States. The Castro regime undermines our national security at every turn and reinforces instability in the entire region by exporting their Cuban military and espionage apparatus across the region. The ALBA countries have security advisors who are Cuban nationals. Some ALBA countries even send diplomats overseas who are undercover Cuban agents. Cuba is an avowed enemy of the United States and let me cite these bullet points just in the recent years that the Castro regime done:


  • ·         has killed American citizens in the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down, 19 years ago this week;
  • ·         has worked with the Russians to try to re-open the Lourdes spy facility in Cuba;
  • ·         has allowed Russian spy ships to dock in Havana as recently as just a few days ago;
  • ·         was caught sending arms and military equipment last year to North Korea in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions;
  • ·         the Castro regime is hiding U.S. fugitives of law and has given asylum to Joanne Chesimard who is considered a Most Wanted Terrorist by our FBI;
  • ·         it has given safe haven to terrorist groups such as the FARC and ETA;
  • ·         has sent military advisors to Venezuela who have caused the deaths of many Venezuelans due to the violence perpetrated by the thugs of Nicolas Maduro;
  • ·         the Castro regime has penetrated our own intelligence services with spies working for the Castro regime like Ana Belen Montes and Kendall Myers;
  • ·         had Cuban agents torture and beat American POWs at a prison camp in North Vietnam known as “The Zoo”;
  • ·         has sent troops to Angola in the 1970’s and 80’s to further destabilize the country and fight alongside leftist movements contrary to U.S. interests;
  • ·         has ties with Iran, with Russia, with Syria, and the list goes on, Mr. Chairman.


Yet, all these realities have been ignored by the Obama administration. Tomorrow, as we have pointed out, the Department of State will roll out the red carpet for officials from the Castro regime. The lead negotiator, Josefina Vidal, who was a Cuban spy in the United States who was actually kicked out, along with her husband, from the U.S. due to their illicit espionage activities. And now, she’s negotiating for the Castro regime.


I firmly believe that the President’s concessions to the Castro brothers on December 17 poses a real national security threat. And here’s why. It is well known that Cuba has one of the world’s more advanced espionage apparatuses. And that apparatus is aimed right at our country and here very much active in our nation’s capital in Washington, DC. We know that Cuba has had spies on the Hill and in many U.S. government agencies.


So the President’s new policies provide an injection of new money to the regime – millions of dollars. And this new money will go straight into the pockets of the Castro brothers and the Cuban military which owns a majority and operates the tourist industry in Cuba. of Cuba’s tourism industry. With this new infusion of capital, the Cubans will be able to provide more resources towards their espionage activities directed at us. And what will they do with the intelligence that they gather? They will sell it to our enemies – to the highest bidder on the black market. These are just some of the reasons Mr. Chairman of why Cuba does pose a national security threat to the U.S. and why it should remain on the State sponsor of Terrorism list. The White House must stop putting politics ahead of our national security. 


On January 3, 1961, President Eisenhower terminated diplomatic relations with Cuba after the Cuban regime decided to expel several United States personnel from Havana. President Eisenhower responded by stating, “this calculated action on the part of the Castro government is only the latest of a long series of harassments, baseless accusations, and vilification. There is a limit to what the United States in self-respect can endure. That limit has now been reached. Meanwhile our sympathy goes out to the people of Cuba now suffering under the yoke of a dictator.” President Obama should learn from history that negotiating with the Castro regime is a failed endeavor.