WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on the continuing normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States:
“The State Department’s recommendation to remove Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, the result of a months-long technical review, is an important step forward in our efforts to forge a more fruitful relationship with Cuba,” said Senator Cardin. “Following the Cuban government’s release of Marylander Alan Gross late last year, the United States has a unique opportunity to begin a fresh chapter with Cuba — one that advances our national interests on the island and in the hemisphere. Congress will have the chance to verify that it fully meets the requirements under U.S. law.
“It is my expectation that this announcement will clear the way for the United States and Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations and strengthen people-to-people ties between our two countries. This latest step should provide the Obama Administration the space needed to more vigorously promote our national interests and the values that we as a nation hold dear. A healthy and prosperous Cuba is good for the United States and will promote a more open society.
“I am hopeful this announcement will lead to more constructive and direct engagement between international neighbors, especially when it comes to issues of human rights and the rule of law. The Cuban government needs to end its practice of detaining political dissidents and providing safe haven to American fugitives wanted for violent crimes, especially the murder of U.S. law enforcement officers. And, most importantly, the Cuban people must be afforded internationally recognized rights and individual freedoms.”