Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) released the following statement regarding the Obama administration’s announcement of additional changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba:

“These unilateral actions will further prop up a communist regime in Cuba that has a long record of brutal human rights abuses.  And for what?  While the Castros and their agents are given access to the U.S. financial system, the suffering Cuban people will still get paid in funny money – if at all.  Workers at foreign-owned resorts receive only a fraction of their salary, sometimes as little as five percent.  The government pockets the rest. 

“Additionally, I’m very concerned these moves pose significant risks to the integrity of the U.S. financial system, U.S. companies doing business in Cuba, and certified claims of American citizens against the Castro regime.  The state-run financial system is opaque and unregulated, and in the past has conducted plenty of business with terrorist organizations and likely narcotics traffickers.  Corruption in the government is endemic. 

“Under existing law, the president, after consultation with Congress, is only authorized to suspend the economic embargo of Cuba if there is a transitional government in place that allows for all political activity, frees political prisoners, makes a commitment to free and fair elections, and does not include Raul Castro.  Obviously these conditions have not been met.  Instead of ignoring the law to hand more one-sided concessions to an oppressive regime, President Obama should be working with Congress to stand with the Cuban people who long for freedom.” 

NOTE: Noting that the human rights situation in Cuba has gone from bad to worse since the administration began normalizing relations with Raul Castro, Chairman Royce has urged President Obama to postpone his trip to Cuba unless meaningful engagement with internationally recognized human rights activists can be secured