A trio of lawmakers — two Republicans and one Democrat — welcomed President Donald Trump's new policy on Cuba.
Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., were joined by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., in authoring a column for the Miami Herald in praise of Trump's revised policy toward the island nation.
"When President (Barack) Obama announced in December 2014 that his administration would re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, he promised his administration would raise issues related to democracy and human rights directly with the Castros when necessary," they said.
"He said he wanted to 'do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values through engagement' because 'these 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked.'
"Unfortunately, progress under the new policy has not materialized. In fact, many Cubans say human rights conditions on the island have worsened since President Obama's visit to the island in March 2016."
They claimed Obama's policy fund "is currently funding this brutality and repression."
The lawmakers maintained Cuba's military monopoly, Grupo de Administración Empresarial SA ("GAESA"), is the biggest business enterprise on the island. Run by Raul Castro's son-in-law, it also serves as the "brutal instrument for suppressing the Cuba people's liberty and right to self-determination," they said.
"GAESA has taken full advantage of the new U.S. engagement. It has absorbed all of the benefits of American business, and has left virtually nothing for the average citizen on the island," the lawmakers said.
The three said nothing will change in Cuba until GAESA loosens its grip on the economy.
"President Trump understands this, and his new Cuba policy will ensure that the United States truly empowers the Cuban people instead of the dictatorship," they said.
"The changes he announced will assist Cubans struggling for liberty by ensuring that U.S. policy toward Cuba actually benefits the Cuban people.
"By forbidding investment with the regime's military monopoly and empowering the Cuban people directly, the U.S. sends the message that America stands firmly on the side of the oppressed, not the oppressor."
They predicted the days of the Castro regime are numbered.
And the three added: "Soon the Cuban people will be free."
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