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Joint Statement: Diaz-Balart, Ros-Lehtinen, Sires, and Rivera Condemn Visas Provided to High-Ranking Cuban Regime Officials

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), and David Rivera (R-FL) sent a letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton expressing outrage that the Obama Administration provided entry visas to high-level Cuban Communist Party operatives Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Eusebio Leal, and Mariela Castro Espin. They released the following comments in regards to the abysmal circumstances:

"It is appalling that the Obama administration is welcoming high-level agents of the Castro dictatorship onto U.S. soil. While the Cuban people are struggling for basic freedoms in the face of increasingly brutal repression, and American humanitarian aid worker Alan Gross languishes in prison, the Obama administration has made a reckless and dangerous decision to embrace regime operatives. This is yet another example of the administration's misguided policy of rewarding the murderous Castro dictatorship for its atrocious human rights record and persistent attacks on U.S. interests worldwide." --Rep. Diaz-Balart

"I am opposed to the granting of visas by the State Department to three high-level Cuban regime officials in recent weeks. This "open door' policy for operatives of a state-sponsor of terrorism is dangerous and has granted the Castro brothers and their espionage activities direct access to the United States. Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Eusebio Leal, and Mariela Castro Espin are part of a regime that denies its citizens basic human rights and actively undermines the interests of the U.S. at every turn. Granting visas to the oppressors of the Cuban people is an affront to all the freedom fighters in Cuba who work to rid their nation of that despised dictatorship. The State Department needs to wake up from its delusional love fest with the dictators in Havana. I urge them to immediately revoke these visas."--Rep. Ros-Lehtinen

"It is indefensible that the United States would allow these Cuba officials entry visas to the United States. Such action is not only a unilateral concession to the oppressive Cuban regime, but it directly conflicts with current law, which forbids such visas from being issued. By issuing these visas, the United States is sending a message to Cuba and to the rest of the world that our country does not take known threats seriously."--Rep. Sires

"By granting entry visas to Cuban Communist Party representatives Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Eusebio Leal and Mariela Castro Espin, the State Department is sending a message that is contradictory to established U.S. policy--specifically the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act and Presidential Proclamation 5377--which suspends entry of and denies visas to officers and employees of the Cuban dictatorship and the Cuban Communist Party. Vidal Ferreiro, Leal and Castro Espin are all vocal advocates for the tyrannical and oppressive Castro regime. The State Department should not be putting out the welcome mat for officials from countries that have officially been designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism."--Rep. Rivera


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