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Public Statements

Summits of the Americas

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. RIVERA. Mr. Speaker, this past weekend I attended the Summits of the Americas, where Western Hemisphere leaders were in attendance to discuss regional policy issues and challenges. Leftist regimes repeatedly criticized the United States for our strong opposition to communist Cuba participating in the summits.

This summit is and should be reserved only for democratic nations, not totalitarian, dictatorial terrorist regimes like the Castro dictatorship. We should continue our commitment to the Cuban embargo and reiterate the importance of condemning a regime that refuses to grant its citizens the freedoms every human deserves: human rights, civil liberties, and free elections.

The illicit drug operation in our hemisphere contributes to the problem of increasing violence and terrorism in the regime. Legalizing drugs is not the answer. Instead, we must bolster regional security and directly target drug gangs and violent narcotraffickers. America must stand strong against these efforts and in favor of democratic values.

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