WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the Administration’s announcement to continue normalizing relations with Cuba and open embassies in Washington, DC, and Havana.
“This announcement is another step forward in a common sense approach to Cuba. A U.S. Embassy in Havana will strengthen our ability to engage the Cuban people, advance our national interests, and advocate for fundamental freedoms.
“Though today’s announcement is significant as we work toward establishing a more hopeful chapter in U.S. – Cuban relations, for a full normalization of relations to occur, the Cuban government must recognize that it is out of step today with the international community on human rights issues. Arrests and detentions of dissidents must cease and genuine political pluralism is long overdue.
“As the United States government is changing with the times, so to must the Cuban government to address the needs of the Cuban people. Reform will not come to Cuba overnight, but we are moving in a more hopeful direction.”
Senator Cardin traveled to Cuba this past weekend with Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Dean Heller (R-NV).