Curbelo, Royce blast White House decision not to defend US law on Cuba

The Obama administration’s decision not to defend U.S. law pertaining to an embargo against Cuba at the United Nations provoked the ire of U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Ed Royce (R-CA).

The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996 sought stronger international sanctions against Cuba to help the Cuban people win independence from Fidel Castro’s regime and to defend U.S. national security.

Curbelo said he was disappointed with the White House’s decision to abstain from voting on a U.N. resolution that condemned the Libertad Act.

“These sanctions cut off resources to the anti-American Castro dictatorship and protect the legal rights of American citizens that had their private properties confiscated,” Curbelo said. The Cuban dictatorship, he argued, continues to undermine American national security interests.

“The United Nations’ time would be better spent focusing on the deplorable human rights record of the Cuban dictatorship, affirming the U.N.’s own Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and helping the Cuban people free themselves from the clutches of tyranny,” Curbelo said.

Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Castro regime’s human rights abuses have worsened under President Obama’s policies during the past two years.

“Democracy advocates have been attacked. Thousands have been jailed because of their beliefs. And the government continues to pocket as much as 95 percent of worker salaries at foreign-owned resorts. Cubans are paid in funny money, if at all,” he said.

Current law states that the economic embargo on Cuba will remain in effect until the country’s government releases political prisoners and allows free and fair elections.