U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today issued the following statement after meeting with Raymond McGrath, the new Coordinator for Cuban Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Also in the meeting were the other members of the Cuban American Congressional Delegation in the House of Representatives. Chairman Ros-Lehtinen pressed Mr. McGrath on the Administration's failed policy towards the Castro tyranny, recent developments in the island, including the death of Oswaldo Paya, the hunger strike by Marta Beatriz Roque, Jose Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez" and other pro democracy activists; as well as the continued unjust incarceration of the U.S. citizen Alan Gross. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"During our meeting with Mr. McGrath we brought up the many troubling aspects of this Administration's failed Cuba policy. What does it take for President Obama to realize that his outreach towards the Castro brothers has not produced one iota of positive news for U.S. interests? After 3 years of appeasement and diplomatic niceties, the Castro brothers continue to undermine our foreign policy at every opportunity they get, they continue to grossly and systematically violate the human rights of the Cuban people and Alan Gross languishes in a Castro jail on trumped up charges.
"The regime in 2012 is as repressive as ever. Since the tyrant Raul Castro took over the reins of power from his brother Fidel there has been a marked increase in the persecution and illegal jailing of the brave pro democracy activists.
"The Obama Administration's policy towards the Castro brothers has only provided an economic lifeline to the dictatorship. It is my sincere hope that Mr. McGrath can succeed where some others before him have failed and that is to work to focus U.S. efforts on precipitating a transition to democratic rule in Cuba as articulated in U.S. law."