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Diaz-Balart Denounces Shameful Concessions to the Castro Regime

July 1, 2015

WASHINGTON - Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement after the U.S. State Department and Cuban regime announced they will reopen embassies in Havana and Washington, D.C.

"By pressing ahead with plans to open a U.S. embassy in Havana and a Cuban embassy in Washington, President Obama continues his failed policy of appeasing brutal dictators that threaten U.S. interests.

It is an utter disgrace that the administration has removed human rights and America's security from the President's foreign policy agenda. The Castro regime has increased its oppression of human rights and pro-democracy activists in the wake of President Obama's ceaseless overtures. Since the President's December 17, 2014 announcement, there have been well over 2,000 political arrests in Cuba. For the past twelve consecutive Sundays, more than seventy activists have been arrested, including the courageous Ladies in White who protest on their way to mass. In February of this year, the Cuban dictatorship was caught smuggling weapons through Colombian territory, which occurred after severe condemnation of Cuba's illegal weapons smuggling to North Korea from a U.N. panel of experts in March 2014. In addition, several Cuban diplomat-spies have been expelled from the U.S. for their espionage activities.

If a Cuban embassy opens in Washington, it will not represent the Cuban people. It will represent the Cuban intelligence services that perpetuate human rights abuses against the Cuban people. It will serve the interests of the military generals that illegally smuggle weapons to our adversaries. And, most directly, it will serve the dictators that will continue to impoverish and oppress the Cuban people.

The Cuban people have not chosen the Castros as their leaders. Instead, Cuba's true leadership includes those who are in prison, and who have lost their livelihoods, ration cards, housing, and health, simply for demanding human rights. The Cuban regime does not represent them. It is their enemy. For these reasons, the House Subcommittee for State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations denied funding for a U.S. embassy in Havana, and a Cuban embassy and consulates in the U.S. in its FY 2016 bill.

Purportedly to help the Cuban people achieve "independence from Cuban authorities," President Obama continues to appease their oppressors. The Cuban people are calling out for solidarity with their struggle for freedom, not collaboration with those that imprison them. If only we had a president that knew the difference.