It is important to note that, when it comes to Cuba, there is much more than meets the eye. This is illustrated by the Cuban doctors who are shipped around the world to provide medical services while spying for the Castros' benefit.
Recent assertions that U.S. policy toward Cuba is a relic of the Cold War would indicate that the Castro Regime has changed its ways since that time. Today's hearing will reaffirm that it is the same Regime operating in Cuba today that was alive and well during the Cold War.
Let me be clear, Cuba is no friend to the United States, we are enemy number one. And although Cuba is a small island, it has a global reach that aims to undermine U.S. interests and security through terrorism, intelligence, and irregular warfare.
Cuba has built key relationships that help the island expand its reach. Experts have identified that China has, and I quote, "developed a special relationship with Cuba for several reasons, ranging from loyalty to intelligence gathering." However, these same experts explain that the public is often kept in the dark on such nefarious activity, because officials do not often testify on strategic concerns. Yet the facts remain:
The Cuban Intelligence Service ranks among the very best in the world and continues to engage in espionage operations in the United States. For example in June 2009, the FBI arrested Kendall Myers, a retired State Department official, and his wife after they spied for the Cuban government for over three decades. The DIA analyst Ana Belen Montes, convicted in 2002 of espionage, provided classified U.S. military information to the Cuban regime. Meanwhile, the harm this caused to U.S. troops goes unreported.
Additionally, Cuban intelligence agents purposefully provided false leads "worldwide" in order to misdirect the U.S. investigation of the September 11th terrorist attacks. We also know that Cuban intelligence strives to create a perception in the United States that Cuba is not a threat, that we should normalize relations. Do not be fooled. Cuba is an enemy of the United States that has infiltrated our government, steals classified information, trafficks information around the world, and counts Iran, Syria, Venezuela, China, and Russia among its best friends. We will never be able to quantify the level of harm Cuba has done against our men and women serving around the world.
Despite all of this, the Obama Administration is easing travel and remittance restrictions, and engaging the Cuban regime. President Obama is giving legitimacy to the Castro model and allowing negotiations to occur on the Regime's terms.
This is just another example where U.S. foreign policy is backwards in Latin America. The goal of this Administration has been -- reach out to our enemies -- turn our back on our friends and allies. And this approach has hurt our national security. The Obama Administration has abandoned U.S. citizen Alan Gross
in prison while making concessions to a corrupt and lying regime.
At the recent Summit of the Americas -- where Cuba took center stage- those of us in attendance saw firsthand how the Cuban Regime continues to wield its influence. The Cuban people deserve to live in freedom. Once the Castro Regime embraces freedom, Cuba can be included in the gatherings of free societies.
I have repeatedly asked the Castro Regime to start with three simple actions: One, release political prisoners including Alan Gross; Two, hold free and fair elections; and Three, permit freedom of speech and a free press. Until the Castro regime can take these three steps, there should be no negotiations or talk of normalizing relations with Cuba. There is nothing holding them back but their own actions.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses to shed light on the terrorist activity and irregular warfare engaged in by the Castro Regime. And I urge everyone to take note of this serious and on-going threat as the security of U.S. citizens depends upon it.