The Castro regime took another step today as it, in one lawmaker’s words, pulled out the “Iranian playbook” to extort as much as possible from the U.S. after President Obama’s move to normalization relations with the communist country.
At a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States today, Cuban President Raul Castro demanded that Guantanamo Bay be returned to Cuba before any relations are re-established.
Castro also wants “just compensation” in cold, hard cash “to our people for the human and economic damage that they’re suffered,” and an end to the embargo that can only be lifted by Congress.
“The reestablishment of diplomatic relations is the start of a process of normalizing bilateral relations, but this will not be possible while the blockade still exists, while they don’t give back the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo naval base,” Castro said.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who immigrated from Cuba to the U.S. as a young child, cited the legally binding agreement between the U.S. and Cuba regarding Guantanamo: “So long as the United States of America shall not abandon the said naval station of Guantanamo or the two Governments shall not agree to a modification of its present limits, the station shall continue to have the territorial area that it now has.”
“Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is strategically important for U.S. national security, and as our own military personnel have said, also plays a key role as a logistical hub in support of a variety of U.S. priority efforts in the region,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “The president must not allow this strategic asset to be extorted from the U.S. by the Castro brothers at any cost.”
The Castro brothers, “once again,” the congresswoman said, “have made their intent toward the United States clear: they plan to use the Iranian playbook in an attempt to extort concessions from the Obama administration in exchange for nothing.”
“Noticeably absent from the regime’s demands, not surprisingly, is any offer to compensate the Cubans and Americans who had their land and property seized by the Castro regime, any change in its oppressive nature and abysmal human rights practices, and to halt its support for terrorism.”