Salazar Questions Cuba’s ‘Growing Private Sector’

Salazar Questions Cuba’s ‘Growing Private Sector’

“The Cuban regime is a master of disguise, and once again, this is another scheme.

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
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January 19, 2024

Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R) led a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, questioning Cuba’s “growing private sector.” During the hearing, she chided the Cuban regime’s propaganda, inciting a heated exchange with California Rep. Barbara Lee (D) in the process.

Rep. Salazar accused the Biden Administration of falling for the Cuban regime’s lies. Specifically, she argued that reopening the U.S. banking system to the Castros’ coffers is a grave error that will only negatively impact the Cuban people.

“The Cuban regime is a master of disguise, and once again, this is another scheme,” she argued, adding that “this smells like a new scheme from the regime who is desperate for millions of dollars to violate the embargo.”

According to the rules of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a non-committee member has to receive unanimous consent to join a hearing. Rep. Lee is not a member of the committee. However, when the hearing began, she pushed back against Rep. Salazar and the embargo, sharing that the United States should be open to negotiations.

Given that Rep. Lee was not allowed to speak any further, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), who was present during the hearing, assured that she could not be part of the hearing if Rep. Lee was not allowed to speak. On social media, she provided further context, writing that “in democracies, we debate freely and openly, even when we disagree.”

According to a press release from Rep. Salazar’s office, Rep. Lee is accused of being “a known apologist of the Cuban communist regime and friend to Fidel Castro.” The press release further cites that Rep. Lee “visited Cuba over 21 times since the ‘70s and had even gone as far as mourning Fidel Castro’s death in 2016.”

When Rep. Salazar commented that Castro is the Worst Dictator in the Western Hemisphere, Rep. Lee countered by mentioning that President Donald Trump (R) is a threat.

During the hearing, Rep. Salazar pressed two of the State Department’s top officials on the Western Hemisphere and Human Rights on the credibility of a “growing private sector” in Cuba, questioning whether or not it’s independent of the Cuban regime.

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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