Miami, FL - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement regarding new, previously unannounced revelations involving President Obama's concessions to the Cuban regime:
"Over the past 24 hours, we've learned the Obama Administration has entered into an intelligence-sharing agreement with the Castro regime. This makes absolutely no sense, considering Cuba's intelligence agencies actively work to endanger American lives by stealing our military and national security secrets and selling them to Iran, North Korea, Russia and China. At a time when Russia is actively trying to influence elections in the U.S. the Obama Administration is saying it's going to make nice with the very same Cuban intelligence agencies whose number one mission is to steal classified information from our government and recruit spies in the U.S. This is one more piece of the sad, dangerous legacy of President Obama’s appeasement-based foreign policy, which is likely to ensure the longstanding survival of one-party communist rule in Cuba.
"Beyond that, we've also learned the Obama Administration is extending its economic concessions and giving new opportunities to practically every member of the Cuban regime – even if they’re one of the official neighborhood informants that intimidates and reports on the activities of ordinary Cuban citizens; even if they get paid to participate in organized mobs and intimidate and physically assault Cuban dissidents, including the Ladies in White; even if they’re a rank and file member of the Cuban police and security forces that carry out the beatings and arbitrary arrests of government opponents; and even if they work in Cuba's state-run media, where publishing character assassinations and libel and colluding in government cover-ups like the state-sponsored murder of Oswaldo Paya are all a routine part of the job.
"When the Obama Administration announced these new regulations last week, the media and the American public were led to believe this was all about Cuban cigars and rum. Yes, this is about the trafficking of products derived from properties stolen from Americans, but it's much more than that. The Obama Administration did not include some of the most significant changes in its public or private descriptions of the announcement, suggesting a deliberate attempt to hide them from the American people. These Obama concessions to the Cuban regime jeopardize America's national security and are demoralizing to the Cuban people on the island who fight daily for freedom and a better future. They are demoralizing to people of Cuban descent residing in the U.S. who have been victims of the Cuban regime and are now learning the Obama Administration is legitimizing and essentially pardoning their tormentors."
Background on these previously undisclosed Obama Administration concessions:
The Obama Administration has narrowed the definition of prohibited officials of the Government of Cuba removing Ministers and Vice-ministers, members of the Council of State; members and employees of the National Assembly of People's Power; members of any provincial assembly; local sector chiefs of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution; Director Generals and sub-Director Generals and higher of all Cuban ministries and state agencies; employees of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT); employees of the Ministry of Defense (MINFAR); secretaries and first secretaries of the Confederation of Labor of Cuba (CTC) and its component unions; chief editors, editors, and deputy editors of Cuban state-run media organizations and programs, including newspapers, television, and radio; and members and employees of the Supreme Court (Tribuno Supremo Nacional). The new definition now only includes members of the Council of Ministers and flag officers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.
The Obama Administration has also narrowed the definition of the Cuban Communist Party removing members of the Central Committee, Department Heads of the Central Committee, employees of the Central Committee, and secretaries and first secretaries of the provincial Party central committees. The definition now only includes members of the Politburo.
These changes now allow persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to engage in transactions with these previously prohibited individuals for telecommunication services and transactions necessary and ordinarily incident to the publishing and marketing of manuscripts, books, journals, and newspapers in paper or electronic format (collectively, “written publications”).