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Florida reaction to U.S. flag raising in Havana

Jeb Bush:

"Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Havana is a birthday present for Fidel Castro – a symbol of the Obama Administration's acquiescence to his ruthless legacy. U.S. policy has changed, but Cuba has not. It remains an unyielding dictatorship, a tragic example of the folly of communism, and an affront to the conscience of the free nations of the Western Hemisphere.

"The accommodation of the Castro regime comes at the expense of the freedom and democracy that all Cubans deserve, but Secretary Kerry's visit is especially insulting for Cuba's dissidents. That courageous Cubans whose only crime is to speak out for freedom and democracy will be kept away from the official ceremony opening the U.S. Embassy is yet another concession to the Castros.

"We need an American president who will work in solidarity with a free Cuban people, if I am elected President, I will reverse Obama's strategy of accommodation and appeasement and commit to helping the Cuban people claim their freedom and determine their future, free from tyranny. Standing up for fundamental human rights and democratic values should not be an afterthought to America's Cuba policy, it should be its guiding principle. "

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart:

"That a U.S. Secretary of State would sideline Cuba's pro-democracy activists simply to avoid offending their oppressors is unthinkable. In Cuba, pro-democracy and human rights activists strive each day, at grave personal risk, to achieve freedom for the Cuban people. It is shameful that President Obama and Secretary Kerry have stooped so low as to publicly choose the Castro regime over the Cuban people, and exclude Cuba's brave leaders from a U.S.-hosted event at our post in Havana. Our U.S. mission in Cuba has always been a welcoming haven and symbol of liberty for those struggling for freedom in the midst of tyranny. The U.S. must remain unequivocal in its support for democracy, human rights and essential liberties, which necessarily includes standing by those struggling to achieve them."

Rep. Carlos Curbelo:

"Secretary Kerry's trip to Cuba only legitimizes the Castro's illegitimate tyrannical rule. Since President Obama's December announcement, over 3000 political arrests have been made, including over a hundred just this past weekend. The Obama Administration has put blinders on to the to the increased repression against peaceful pro-democracy activists. This is the true nature of the dictatorship this Administration has acquiesced to. I again call on Secretary Kerry to summon the moral courage and backbone to condemn these atrocious human rights violations against the Cuban people."

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