Ted Cruz and other GOP Texans slam Obama’s Cuba shift
WASHINGTON – Sen. Ted Cruz has joined the chorus of Republicans blasting the president’s shift in policy toward Cuba, a country from which the senator’s father fled as a teenager.
“Fidel and Raul Castro have just received both international legitimacy and a badly-needed economic lifeline from President Obama,” Cruz said in a prepared statement issued 4 hours after the president’s announcement at the White House. “But they remain in control of a totalitarian police state modeled on their old state sponsor, the Soviet Union.”
“This is one more very, very bad deal brokered by the Obama administration,” said Cruz.
Like other critics weighing in this afternoon, the senator lauded the release of Alan Gross, the American aid worker imprisoned by Cuba for five years. But, he said, the deal Obama has struck won’t stop indefinite detention of others without legal process, “as the many political prisoners still languishing in the Castros’ prisons can attest.”
Cruz echoed comments from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another Cuban American Republican eyeing a 2016 presidential bid.
He called it a mistake to ease tensions with a nation that retains ties with Russia, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela, and which supports terrorists groups – he cited FARC, Hezbollah and Hamas. Making nice with Cuba, Russia and Iran, he said, leaves American “influence diminished and our enemies emboldened. Now they are revisiting this same disastrous policy with the Castros, blind to the fact that they are being played by brutal dictators whose only goal is maintaining power.”
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, who chairs a subcommittee that controls billions in foreign aid, also criticized the moves, which include normalizing diplomatic relations, and easing restrictions on travel, banking and trade. These are “deeply concerning,” she said.
“The Cuban people remain under the iron grip of a regime that has for decades repressed their freedoms. The Cuban regime should not be rewarded until the Cuban people are given the freedoms they are seeking. The regime has had a sordid history of human rights abuses in addition to working with some of America’s worst enemies around the world,” Granger said. “These actions cannot be erased overnight or forgotten as the Administration seeks to shift the U.S. relationship with the government of Cuba.