Rep. Diaz-Balart: Obama’s Cuba Trip a ‘Quasi-Religious Pilgrimage’ to a ‘Totalitarian Dictatorship’

By Craig Millward | March 21, 2016 | 12:39 PM EDT

 

 

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.)

(AP) 

(CNSNews.com) -- Cuban-American Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) criticized President Barack Obama’s ongoing trip to Cuba, saying it “looks less of a foreign policy trip and more of a quasi-religious pilgrimage to the only totalitarian dictatorship, anti-American dictatorship in this hemisphere.”

Speaking on Fox News on Sunday, Diaz-Balart also said, “it is, frankly, a tragic and a disgusting, and a horrific day for the United States, and frankly for the entire world.”

“I noticed that he’s taking in essence, the entire family” to Communist Cuba, said Diaz-Balart.  “This looks less of a foreign policy trip and more of a quasi-religious pilgrimage to the only totalitarian dictatorship, anti-American dictatorship in this hemisphere.”

“So there are about 120 countries that the president has yet to visit,” said the congressman.  “Allies, friends, folks that would love to receive the president. And yet he takes his entire family on what again seems to be almost a pilgrimage, to the one remaining totalitarian dictatorship, anti-American dictatorship in this hemisphere.”

“It is frankly a tragic, and a disgusting, and a horrific day for the United States, and frankly for the entire world,” said Rep. Diaz-Balart.

Diaz-Balart also criticized the Administration for asking for nothing in return from Cuba. 

“I had a conversation in a public hearing with Secretary Lew, Treasury Secretary Lew,” said the congressman. “And I asked, what is the administration asking from the Castro regime in return for all these concessions? And he couldn’t give me one thing that the administration is asking for.”

“So, this is not a negotiation,” said Diaz-Balart.  “This is the president of the United States giving everything, every concession he could possibly come up with, to the Castro regime, asking nothing in return. Again, not even asking for it.”

“Look, there are about 80 fugitives from U.S. law,” said the congressman.  “Terrorists, cop killers who are harbored by Castro. The president doesn’t believe it is important enough to ask for that. There are indicted members of Castro’s armed forces for the murder of Americans and the president doesn’t believe it is important to demand that. The president has asked nothing in return for all these concessions.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended the trip on Friday, saying, “And there are surely more issues that we have to work through, including this issue related to criminal fugitives. But by deepening those ties and solidifying our efforts to normalize relations between our two countries, we can bring about the kind of change that we have long sought on the island nation of Cuba.  And we can do it in a way that ends up being good for the American people and for the American economy.”