The Obama administration’s exchange of American aid worker Alan Gross for three Cuban spies poses a threat to national security and is a “slap in the face” to the families of the men they killed, according to Cuba-born Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
“President Obama has unilaterally released three convicted Cuban spies who were responsible for the deaths of three American citizens and one U.S. resident: Carlos Costa, Armando Alejandre, Mario de la Peña, and Pablo Morales, whose planes were unjustly shot down over international waters on direct orders of the Castro brothers,” she said.
Ros-Lehtinen, a former chairwomen of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, stressed that the agreement the Obama administration reached ignores the Cuban people and argued that since the Obama administration began easing restrictions on the dictatorship the situation for the Cuban people has “gotten worse.”
She noted that the Obama administration’s attempts to normalize relations with the dictatorship will only serve to enrich the Castro brothers.
“The liberalization policies aimed at easing trade and remittances to Cuba is another propaganda coup for the Castro brothers, who will now fill their coffers with more money at the expense of the Cuban people,” she said.
The Florida lawmaker also says she believes that Obama’s unilateral actions could be a violation of U.S. law, specifically: the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996, Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, and the Trading with the Enemy Act.
“The White House attempts to normalize relationships with Cuba without the approval of Congress may be in direct violation of Helms-Burton that specifically states that all political prisoners must be released and free and fair elections must be held before establishing a diplomatic relationship,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “This misguided action by President Obama will embolden the Castro regime to continue its illicit activities, trample on fundamental freedoms, and disregard democratic principles.”