Bob Menendez, Marco Rubio Torch Obama Administration Over Cuba Announcement
Two longtime critics of Cuba made blistering statements Wednesday morning following the Obama administration’s announcement that the U.S. would normalize full diplomatic relations with the communist island, marking a significant policy shift not seen in decades.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the outgoing Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair, praised the release of former USAID worker and prisoner Alan Gross, but sharply criticized the administration for the price it paid.
“President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government,” he said in a statement. “There is no equivalence between an international aid worker and convicted spies who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage against our nation. One spy was also convicted of conspiracy to murder for his role in the 1996 tragedy in which the Cuban military shot down two U.S. civilian planes, killing several American citizens. My heart goes out to the American families that lost love ones on that fateful day.”
“Trading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent,” he added. “It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips. I fear that today’s actions will put at risk the thousands of Americans that work overseas to support civil society, advocate for access to information, provide humanitarian services, and promote democratic reforms.”
The U.S. is reportedly looking to normalize relations by opening an embassy in Havana, as well as loosening current travel restrictions on the country.