MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Three prominent local leaders spoke out Thursday against the United States’ new policy on Cuba, just one day after the president’s announcement of the change.
President Barack Obama said he would ease economic and travel restrictions on Cuba and attempt to partner with Congress to end the trade embargo.
On Thursday, Senator Marco Rubio (FL), Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), and Congressman Diaz-Balart (FL-25) spoke out against history-making policy change.
“We’re just in great anguish about this decision,” said Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.“Because of the president’s action Gerardo Hernandez one of the killers of the Brothers to the Rescue is free while millions of Cubans still suffer under Castro’s rule…Obama’s deal appeases the Castro regime at the expense of the rights and freedoms of Cubans. Obama sacrificed the dreams of millions of people on the island while making no progress toward a democratic Cuba. The Cuban people are no more free today than they were before Obama’s terrible deal.”
Senator Marco Rubio, whose parents immigrated from Cuba to escape the oppressive regime, was also at the news conference.
“All of it is premised on the notion that if we open up to Cuba, the United States does more business and commerce on the island that from that will spring democracy. I wish that were true. I wish with all my heart that that was true, but we need only to look around the world to see that it isn’t,” said Rubio.
In their company, were the families of the victims killed by one of the spies released in exchange for U.S. contractor Alan Gross who was jailed in a Cuban prison for five years.
Miriam de la Pena, whose son died in 1996 when his plane was shot down, was outraged by the release and spoke out again on Thursday.
“The little bit of justice that we had for the shoot down was stepped on yesterday,” said de la Pena.
Florida Governor Rick Scott also criticized the president following the announcement on Wednesday.
Scott put out a statement saying he continues to support sanctions and the existing embargo against the island nation “as long as Cuba chooses dictatorship over democracy.”
While some local leaders opposed the new policy, the president’s announcement, on a national level got support.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday the lengthy U.S. economic embargo against Cuba “just hasn’t worked” and voiced support for opening trade with Cuba.
Paul became the first potential Republican presidential candidate to offer some support for President Barack Obama’s decision to attempt to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba.
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