The Florida House on Wednesday took a formal position against President Obama's decision to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba.
The vote came two days before Obama is scheduled to see Cuban leader Raúl Castro at the Summit of the Americas in Panama. Republican Reps. Manny Diaz, Jr. and Jeanette Núñez said it was important to send a strong message in advance of the gathering.
"We are truly the last best hope for the Cuban people," Núñez said.
The measure is largely symbolic. In addition to expressing "profound disagreement" with the president's decision, it also opposes the opening of a Cuban consulate in Florida.
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Rep. Joe Geller, D-Aventura, said the action didn't go far enough.
But Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, said it was the only tool available to state lawmakers.
"There's nothing else that we could possibly do," Trujillo said. "I wish I could tell you that Speaker [Steve] Crisafulli was going to send our powerful armada to Cuba and liberate it and free it."
Núñez said the measure was more than rhetoric.
"It matters because it is about the people," she said. "It's about freedom. It's about liberty that we enjoy and they don't."
The Florida Senate took a similar vote last month.
State lawmakers will now send a formal petition urging Congress to uphold the embargo.