U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with her Cuban-American colleagues Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Rep. David Rivera (R-FL), released the following statements today on the important role which the Cuban embargo has played over 50 years in demonstrating the United States' unwavering solidarity with the Cuban people. February 7, 1962 marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's executive order, Proclamation 3447, declaring a trade embargo between the United States and Cuba.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"In addition to imposing economic pressure on the Castro regime and holding it accountable for actions against U.S. interests, the embargo is a moral stance against the brutal dictatorship. Over the last 50 years, the embargo has served as a constant form of solidarity with the Cuban people. I am ever hopeful that a Cuban Spring will arrive as long as we maintain and enforce policies which support the freedom-loving will of the Cuban people. The embargo will remain in place until free, fair and transparent elections are scheduled, political prisoners are released, and freedom of expression and the press are established."
Statement by Diaz-Balart:
"As Cuba's failed dictatorship is waning, we must continue to stand with the Cuban people. As the regime murders political prisoners, intensifies its repression, and holds an American citizen hostage, the Obama Administration continues to insist on unilateral concessions to the Castro terrorist regime. The Administration should strengthen the sanctions on the regime, cutting off its financial lifeline while standing with pro-democracy heroes on the island. These heroes deserve our solidarity and continued support in their struggle for freedom."
Statement by Sires:
"Over the last few years, the United States has offered several concessions to the Cuban regime, but the Castro brothers have only responded with intensified repression of the Cuban people. Today, Cubans are suffering more than ever at the hands of the Castros. The sanctions on Cuba must and will remain until the regime allows the Cuban people the freedoms and rights that each and every person deserves."
Statement by Rivera:
"In 1962, the United States enacted a trade embargo on Cuba due to the Castro regime's anti-American and anti-democratic actions. The Cuban dictatorship demonstrated overt hostile actions toward democracy and human rights. Fifty years later, while the world around them has changed, and their allies are now Chavista and Mullah instead of Soviet, we see a continuing need for full enforcement of the embargo and other sanctions until free elections, civil liberties and democracy are returned to the Cuban people."