Ros-Lehtinen: Cuba prisoners release doesn’t change anything

Keeping its promise to the United States, Cuba has released all of the 53 political prisoners it promised to liberate as part of last month’s historic deal between the two countries. But Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said on Monday that the release of the political prisoners in Cuba doesn’t change anything given that many more remain in prison and continue to be deprived of their human rights. “While it is welcome news that some political prisoners have been freed in Cuba, we cannot be fooled by this smoke and mirror attempt to disregard those individuals who still languish in Castro gulags,” the Republican congresswoman said in a statement. “Freeing innocent individuals is not an accomplishment nor does it show a change in the regime’s brutal and violent tactics against the people of Cuba.” The release of the prisoners came several weeks after the Obama administration agreed to ease trade and travel restrictions and to normalize diplomatic ties with Cuba for the first time in half a century. As part of the agreement, the administration asked Cuba to release the 53 political prisoners. And on Monday, The Associate Press reported that the 53 political prisoners had been released in recent days. SEE ALSO: Several of 53 political dissidents in Cuba haven’t been released Ros-Lehtinen has been critical of the move to re-establish ties with Cuba. On Monday, she called on the Obama administration to offer no concessions to Cuba until the all political prisoners are released. Like Ros-Lehtinen, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) doesn’t think the release of the 53 political prisoners in Cuba will change anything in the communist nation. Rubio said in an interview Monday on “CBS This Morning” that just two weeks ago, the Cuban government rounded up dozens more people “because they planned to go to a public square and speak out in favor of freedom and democracy.” He also said he’s worried that the 53 released political prisoners run the risk of getting arrested again. Rubio, who like Ros-Lehtinen has also been critical of the recent U.S.-Cuba deal, also stressed that he didn’t have a problem with improving ties with Cuba. However, he said he’s worried that the Cubans are “getting virtually everything they want” from the U.S. in return for “minimal changes.” “My interest in Cuba is freedom and democracy,” Rubio said. “But it has already been very clear there will be no political changes on the island of Cuba, and there is no contemporary example of how a tyranny resisted to change is forced to change because of economic opening.” SEE ALSO: Marco Rubio wants Cuba talks canceled amidst detention of 53 dissidents Rubio is also among a group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill who want the Obama administration to release the names of the 53 political prisoners who were freed in Cuba. Senior U.S. officials told Reuters that the White House will provide the names to members of Congress but didn’t specify when that’ll happen. “Certainly, for those 53 prisoners, it’s a great deal,” Rubio said reacting to the news of the freed prisoners. “Unfortunately, we don’t know who they are. The list is kept secret from the world.”The post Ros-Lehtinen: Cuba prisoners release doesn’t change anything appeared first on Voxxi.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) says the release of the 53 political prisoners in Cuba doesn’t change anything given that many more remain in prison. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Keeping its promise to the United States, Cuba has released all of the 53 political prisoners it promised to liberate as part of last month’s historic deal between the two countries.

But Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said on Monday that the release of the political prisoners in Cuba doesn’t change anything given that many more remain in prison and continue to be deprived of their human rights.

“While it is welcome news that some political prisoners have been freed in Cuba, we cannot be fooled by this smoke and mirror attempt to disregard those individuals who still languish in Castro gulags,” the Republican congresswoman said in a statement. “Freeing innocent individuals is not an accomplishment nor does it show a change in the regime’s brutal and violent tactics against the people of Cuba.”

The release of the prisoners came several weeks after the Obama administration agreed to ease trade and travel restrictions and to normalize diplomatic ties with Cuba for the first time in half a century. As part of the agreement, the administration asked Cuba to release the 53 political prisoners. And on Monday, The Associate Press reported that the 53 political prisoners had been released in recent days.

SEE ALSO: Several of 53 political dissidents in Cuba haven’t been released

Ros-Lehtinen has been critical of the move to re-establish ties with Cuba. On Monday, she called on the Obama administration to offer no concessions to Cuba until the all political prisoners are released.

Like Ros-Lehtinen, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) doesn’t think the release of the 53 political prisoners in Cuba will change anything in the communist nation.

Rubio said in an interview Monday on “CBS This Morning” that just two weeks ago, the Cuban government rounded up dozens more people “because they planned to go to a public square and speak out in favor of freedom and democracy.” He also said he’s worried that the 53 released political prisoners run the risk of getting arrested again.

Rubio, who like Ros-Lehtinen has also been critical of the recent U.S.-Cuba deal, also stressed that he didn’t have a problem with improving ties with Cuba. However, he said he’s worried that the Cubans are “getting virtually everything they want” from the U.S. in return for “minimal changes.”

“My interest in Cuba is freedom and democracy,” Rubio said. “But it has already been very clear there will be no political changes on the island of Cuba, and there is no contemporary example of how a tyranny resisted to change is forced to change because of economic opening.”

SEE ALSO: Marco Rubio wants Cuba talks canceled amidst detention of 53 dissidents

Rubio is also among a group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill who want the Obama administration to release the names of the 53 political prisoners who were freed in Cuba. Senior U.S. officials told Reuters that the White House will provide the names to members of Congress but didn’t specify when that’ll happen.

“Certainly, for those 53 prisoners, it’s a great deal,” Rubio said reacting to the news of the freed prisoners. “Unfortunately, we don’t know who they are. The list is kept secret from the world.”

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The post Ros-Lehtinen: Cuba prisoners release doesn’t change anything appeared first on Voxxi.