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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rep. Kathy Castor says Cuba critics are wrong



U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor personally thanked President Obama for his moves on Cuba and said Tampa Bay is an eager partner as the country undergoes economic and human rights changes.

"It's been an exciting time to be here," the Tampa Democrat said Monday afternoon in a phone conversation from Havana. "The Cuban people are in high spirits and very welcoming."

"They want what we want. They want a better life for their families," Castor said. "After 55 years of an isolationist policy with an economic embargo, I don't know many people who think that's a good idea."

Castor is a chief sponsor of legislation to lift the embargo. She said Republican critics will start to feel pressure from U.S. business interests as well as the religious community.

Florida Republicans blasted Obama's trip as appeasement — "one of the most disgraceful trips ever taken by a U.S. president anywhere in the world," said Sen. Marco Rubio.

"I respectfully disagree," with the criticism, Castor said. "Cuba is changing and it's important the U.S. recognizes that it's changing." She cited economic reforms that have allowed more people to work in the private sector and to travel more freely.

"I really think it's a minority now that is clinging to that Cold War policy," she said.

Full story here.

[Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2016 6:31pm]


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