U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today called on the U.S. Department of State to reverse its decision to grant a visa for a senior Cuban regime official to visit the United States. The decision comes days before a planned propaganda event at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"The decision to let an official from the Cuban regime's Ministry of Foreign Affairs into the United States undermines U.S. national security and simultaneously rewards the Havana dictatorship.
"The timing of this visa request is particularly suspicious and problematic as it would permit this official to attend a propaganda and intelligence-gathering event hosted by Cuba's Interest Section in Washington, DC. We already know that attendees will be asked to provide photos and fill out questionnaires, which surely will be sent directly to Cuba's intelligence apparatus, seriously jeopardizing U.S. national security. And now, with State's permission, the regime might have the luxury of having one of its chief operators work the guest list to sleuth up more information.
"I have raised my concerns and objections with the State Department and with our intelligence agencies, and have asked State to explain its decision. This Cuban regime official should not be permitted entry into the U.S."
BACKGROUND: Earlier today, the Committee received notification from the State Department that the U.S. government is granting a visa to a senior Cuban regime official to enter the United States.