HOUSTON, Texas -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today released the following statement regarding President Obama’s meeting with Raul Castro, the communist dictator of Cuba:
"Keeping up with a disturbing trend of this administration, President Obama is in the process of striking another very bad deal, now with the communist dictatorship of Cuba. President Obama's approach gives the Castros exactly what they want - economic relief and legitimacy on the international stage - and effectively abandons the pro-U.S. opposition. This President has shown he is willing to do what nine previous presidents of both parties would not: cave to a communist dictator in our own hemisphere.
"The President said today that his unprecedented meeting with Raul Castro was a step towards the future. Unfortunately, he is leaving the Cuban people imprisoned in the past.
"Of course we should look for new ways to bring relief to the people of Cuba, but if the United States is to provide an economic lifeline, we must first extract significant concessions. For instance, American fugitives being harbored in Cuba should be extradited. We should demand significant legal reform so that the Cuban government can no longer detain its citizens indefinitely with no process. We should demand that the political opposition to the Castros be included in any and all negotiations with Cuba, so their concerns will be addressed. And we should calibrate any relaxation of sanctions directly to the cessation of their human rights violations.
"If Cuba will not show it can operate in good faith by making such changes before sanctions are lifted, we have no assurance that the Castros will take real action to improve the lives of their impoverished and oppressed citizens. Meanwhile, American dollars will flow exclusively into the Castros’ pockets while the Cuban people continue to suffer."