Mixed Lawmaker Reactions to U.S.-Cuba Relations - NBC 6 South Florida

Mixed Lawmaker Reactions to U.S.-Cuba Relations

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    Mixed Reactions to Renewed Relations with Cuba

    Wednesday's announcement of normalized relations between the United States and Cuba has shown a political and generational divide stretching from Miami to Capitol Hill. NBC 6's Marissa Bagg reports. (Published Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014)

    Wednesday's announcement of normalized relations between the United States and Cuba has shown a political and generational divide stretching from Miami to Capitol Hill.

    The punches kept coming from South Florida Republicans as they argued against President Obama's plans to improve relations with Cuba.

    "Let there be no mistake, what the President has done is give the Castro regime, a state-sponsor of terrorism, exactly what they've been asking for, not one thing less," said Republican U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart.

    President Obama on Wednesday announced that the U.S. will seek to re-establish an embassy in Havana, as well as open travel and trade for Americans wanting to do business with the island nation.

    "We are calling on Cuba to unleash potential by ending unnecessary restrictions on their political, social and economic activities," President Obama said. "In that spirit, we shouldn't allow US sanctions to add to the burden of Cuban citizens we seek to help."

    While Republicans in South Florida are voicing their opposition, the president is getting support from the GOP outside of the state.

    "For those who say that this is a concession somehow to the Cuban regime, these moves that are being made today, I think that that is the wrong way to look at it," said Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. "That is simply wrong."

    And Havana resident Padre Perez believes the move will help his country.

    "It is great news for the end of the year," Perez said. "The country's economy is going to grove, relations are going to improve."

    The president will need many more backers from the other side of the aisle to lift the embargo, which requires an act of Congress.

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