U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement today following reports of the possible continuation of direct mail talks between the Obama Administration and high level diplomats of the Castro regime. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"It's disappointing that the Obama Administration is considering a second round of direct mail talks with the Castro regime, a U.S.-designated State Sponsor of Terrorism. Moving ahead with these talks ignores the fact that the Castro regime continues to seek ways to undermine our national security interests in the Hemisphere at every turn. Only last month a North Korea-bound ship carrying illegal arms was caught leaving from Cuba, reaffirming that this regime is complicit in criminal activities that are in clear violation of international sanctions and threaten U.S. and regional security.
"It's time for the Administration to speak out against the ongoing and persistent abuses that take place on a daily basis on the island, depriving Cubans of their basic rights and dignity. The regime's violent campaign against freedom advocates through harassment, beatings, and unjust detentions continues unabated. We must be clear that our goal is a vibrant and democratic Cuba free from the oppressive rule of the Castro regime. For this reason -- and for the sake of the Cuban people -- I urge the Administration to not engage in another round of direct mail talks with the Castro regime."