The United States and Cuba will open embassies in their capital cities after more than 50 years of hostilities between the two countries.
Here is a compilation of reactions from Florida politicians:
Sen. Bill Nelson:
“I still distrust Castro, but we have to get that regime to open up, stop human rights abuses, and give the Cuban people their basic freedoms. I think reopening the embassies is a necessary step in the long process toward achieving that goal.”
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor:
“Today we turn the page on 50 years of acrimony between our two countries with the intent to empower the Cuban people and support the emergence of a democratic, prosperous and stable Cuba. An embassy in Havana will enable us to effectively promote American interests, protect and assist American citizens traveling to Cuba, and increase engagement with the Cuban people. An embassy is not a gift to a foreign country, but represents a sign that two countries are committed to deepening bilateral relations.
“Since the birth of our country, Americans have always believed engagement was best for our nation and improving our place in the world. Two years after the end of the American Revolution – the war fought for the independence of our country from England and the tyrant George III with thousands of Americans slain – diplomatic relations were established by the Founders with England.
“Formal diplomatic ties are especially important to Florida families, and state policymakers should follow suit to boost student, cultural, religious and business exchanges. I have had discussions with U.S. State Department and Cuban officials regarding a consulate in Tampa and I am hopeful such discussions will bear fruit.”
U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis:
“President Obama’s removal of Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism was outrageous, and it is insulting to those fighting terror around the globe that the Castro dictatorship will now have an outpost a stone’s throw from the White House. The establishment of an embassy, which effectively embraces Cuba’s oppressive government, is another slap in the face of the Cuban-Americans who fled Castro’s tyranny for freedom. This reckless action by the President will embolden Castro’s government and add a cloak of legitimacy to what is in fact a totalitarian regime that has oppressed millions, including many in Florida.
“I call on Democratic Senate candidates Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson to join with me in opposing President Obama’s decision to further legitimize the Cuban dictatorship. Standing up to the Castro regime is not a partisan issue, and Floridians should demand that those running for the Senate take clear stands on what is an important issue for so many.”