U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and I agree on only one thing when it comes to Cuba: The Cuban people want better lives. But he mistakenly believes that propping up the brutal Castro regime, which continues to be the most powerful force supporting Nicolas Maduro’s genocide in Venezuela, is somehow Cuba’s path to freedom.
I have the utmost respect for Sen. Leahy. He and I have worked together on some issues, including the recently passed disaster relief bill for Florida and Puerto Rico. But it is shocking that he and others like Congressman Charlie Crist — who recently traveled to Cuba — fail to understand that money spent in Cuba goes directly to Caracas to pay for more than 20,000 Cuban operatives to protect and keep Maduro in power. It is also shocking that they fail to see how the appeasement policies under President Obama did nothing to increase freedom for the Cuban people.
President Trump is right to correct course and take every action possible to cut off ties with Cuba. Limiting the flow of money is critical to freeing Venezuela and protecting the national security of the United States. To make this fight about politics is wrong. What is happening in Venezuela is the furthest thing from politics. This is about men, women and children who are starving at the hands of a dictator.
This is also about our country’s national security. We cannot allow Venezuela to become a Syria in our hemisphere. And that’s exactly what will happen if we let the Maduro regime fester. We will be allowing Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah to gain a foothold in our hemisphere to cause havoc and threaten the security and all of the countries in the region.
All of us should be standing with the Venezuelan and the Cuban people, not with the people oppressing them.
Rick Scott (R),