WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on the president’s announced trip to Cuba.
“President Obama’s travel to Havana will demonstrate that engagement represents the greatest opportunity to advance our national interests, the interests of the American people, and our support for Cuba’s citizens and their fundamental freedoms. As the first U.S. president in ninety years to touch down in Cuba, President Obama’s presence will make a lasting contribution to the ongoing efforts to forge a new relationship between our two nations, one that helps unlock the potential of the Cuban people and the country’s rising entrepreneurial class.
“I am confident that the President’s trip also will serve to showcase American values and our commitment to the Cuban people as they strive to build a society where human rights and political pluralism are respected. I urge President Obama to make the most of this positive opportunity to continue to press Cuba on improving the state of human rights on the island, ending arrests and detentions of dissidents, and taking steps toward genuine freedoms, which are long overdue.”