NewsMax on December 17, 2014, reported that Republicans broadly slammed President Barack Obama’s plan to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than five decades, charging that it is yet another example of an inept foreign policy — especially since it said nothing about the Castro regime’s longstanding human-rights abuses. Excerpts below:

The Cuban people are no freer today than they were the first day of the Cuban regime,” Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in a CNN interview. “The more things change, the more nothing changes in Cuba.”

Ros-Lehtinen, the daughter of Cuban exiles living in the United States, chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee for two years.

“We did not help the Cuban people get freer today by this deal,” she said.

“This policy change is a gift for the Cuban government that has done nothing to provide basic, fundamental human rights to the Cuban people,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. “This decision rewards a brutal regime without any significant commitment toward change for the oppressed Cuban people.”

Located 90 miles south of Florida, Cuba and the United States have been at odds since shortly after the 1959 revolution that brought Raul Castro’s older brother, Fidel Castro, to power.

Washington ended diplomatic relations with Havana in 1961 — and the United States has maintained the trade embargo for more than 50 years.

Sen. Bob Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who is the outgoing Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, praised Gross’ release but sharply criticized the administration for the price it paid.

Republicans also welcomed the release, with others appreciating Pope Francis’ involvement in the talks while slamming Obama’s plans. Senators vowed to use the appropriations process to block the United States from opening an embassy in Cuba.

Florida Rep. Dennis Ross cautioned that “it is important to remember the Castro regime has oppressed, imprisoned, and murdered countless friends and relatives of Cuban-Americans across the state of Florida.

“We must not excuse or forget about the decades of human-rights violations committed by this oppressive regime.”


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