Ros-Lehtinen: Castro tyranny’s proliferation and cooperation with N. Korea a direct threat to our National Security Interests

From the offices of U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:

The Castro Tyranny’s Proliferation Activities and Cooperation with Rogue Regimes Like North Korea Pose a Direct Threat to Our National Security Interests, Says Ros-Lehtinen

“The U.S. Administration must take concrete steps to hold the Castro regime accountable, such as denying visas to Castro family members and regime officials, and not allowing people to people travelers to stay at luxury resorts that are owned by the Cuban military”

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement at a Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere hearing on the latest incident in Cuba’s history of proliferation. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

This weapons proliferation violation in our own Hemisphere poses a direct threat to our national security interests. Allowing the Castros to go unaccountable sends a terrible message to allies like Panama, who risked their time and resources to stop this vessel, and also to Venezuela and other rogue regimes who would seek to further cooperate with North Korea or Iran.

We must not allow U.S. people-to-people travelers to stay at Cuban luxury resorts, which are owned by the Cuban military. Additionally, the Administration must reinforce the already existing ban on visas for regime officials and their family members. Allowing Castro family members and regime officials to be issued travel visas to the U.S. sends a message of impunity and eliminates the dissuasive effect for repressors.

This is a time for the Administration to hold the Castro regime accountable, not a time to engage in normalization efforts with the regime. As U.S. citizen languishes in a Cuban jail, now this revelation comes to light, yet the U.S. sits across the table from the Castro regime on postal service talks. Incredible.

Both Cuba and North Korea are in clear violation of UN sanctions yet neither country has yet to suffer any consequence. As we know, the Castro regime is, and always has been a supporter and facilitator of terrorism. It has a long history of proliferation activities and has actively sought to undermine the U.S. and our interests by any means possible. For decades the Castros have harbored dozens of fugitives from U.S. justice, including convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard, as Congressman Sires always reminds us – and a vast and sophisticated intelligence network working the U.S.

The Castro brothers have a well-documented and deep-rooted connection to rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea, united in a mutual hatred for the U.S. Days after the seizure of the North Korean-flagged ship, Cuban authorities released a statement claiming that these were obsolete defensive weapons, sent to North Korea for repair, only to be returned to Cuba. But as you pointed out, it’s obvious that they were lying to the international community to hide the fact that the final destination for these weapons was North Korea in violation of UN sanctions. The Castro regime is desperate for cash to keep its propaganda machine running and its hold on power, and Kim Jong-un and the North Korean regime will stop at nothing to continue its illicit activities.

So I ask you:

What should the U.S. government be doing to support allies in the region, like Panama, in their security and law enforcement efforts?

Also, what penalties do you think the international community should impose on Cuba for these violations?

And despite these blatant violations of UN sanctions, this Administration is continuing efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, moving forward with talks regarding migration and direct mail services in the middle of what has been going on.

What message do you believe it sends about our commitment to regional security to move ahead with talks with the regime despite blatant violations of international law like the one involving the North Korean ship?

We let the Castro regime get away with the murder of four innocent pilots – in the shoot down of Brothers to the Rescue over international airspace – three American citizens and one U.S. resident. And what price did the Castros pay?

They signed a bill into law, with the Administration at the time, that they have yet to put into action. And now we have another horrible example of a violation of international law, and we’re about to let them off the hook yet again. No wonder they continue to do their espionage and dangerous activities against the U.S. We are willing to look the other way because to act would be inconvenient. And if you’re a media outlet and you report on human rights violations instead of reporting on the cute 1950s cars, then you get your license taken away.