(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement in response to President Obama’s nomination of an ambassador to Cuba. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“In announcing his plans to nominate an ambassador to Cuba, President Obama is continuing to push an already failed and dangerous Cuba policy. Ever since December 2014, we have seen unconditional and unilateral concession after concession to the Cuban regime, none of which have moved the needle even one inch toward the direction of freedom and democracy on the island. You have to wonder why the administration would move to make this announcement at this time – what has changed, why should Cuba be granted the legitimacy that a U.S. ambassador would represent now? The Ladies in White continue to be beaten on a daily basis; Coco Fariñas went on a hunger strike for over 50 days to protest the continued repression by the Castro regime. And the administration’s response to this is to nominate an ambassador and legitimize the brutal tactics of the Castro regime for the international community. This announcement is a sham and a direct slap in the face to the people of Cuba and to American ideals and values. We should be standing up for the Cuban people and promoting and protecting freedom and democracy, not facilitating those who would seek to curtail even the most basic and fundamental human rights.”