Bay Ridge

Malliotakis blasts Obama’s Cuba policy

April 14, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis says the U.S. government shouldn’t be so quick to normalize ties with Cuba. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas

The meeting between President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City over the weekend has been hailed a thaw in the tensions between the two countries, a frostiness that dates back more than 50 years.

But not everyone is praising the Obama Administration for seeking to establish better ties between the U.S. and Cuba.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island), whose mother is a Cuban refugee, was highly critical of Obama.

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“Something’s drastically wrong when a U.S. President refuses to meet with our ally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Washington but has no problem meeting with Cuba’s Communist dictator Raul Castro in Panama,” Malliotakis said in a statement.

She was referring to Obama’s refusal to sit down with Netanyahu during the prime minister’s visit to Washington D.C. to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress in March.

Netanyahu had been invited by Speaker of the House Speaker John Boehner, who did not inform the White House before the invitation was extended, a move that angered Administration officials.

The meeting at the Summit of the Americas marked the first time a U.S. President and a Cuban President had a face-to-face meeting in decades. The meeting came on the heels of Obama’s announcement that travel restrictions to Cuba were being eased to allow for family visits and trips by government officials and educators.

The U.S. shouldn’t be so quick to try to build better relations with Cuba, according to Malliotakis, whose mother left Cuba when Raul Castro’s brother Fidel Castro came to power.

“Aside from Cuba’s gross human rights violations and unjust treatment of its people, our government should be very concerned with Cuba’s willingness to allow Russia to build a foreign intelligence base 90 miles from our shores, its demands that the U.S. close the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility, spreading of communism to Venezuela and throughout South America, its support of Iran’s development of nuclear technology, and its 40 years of providing a safe haven for JoAnne Chesimard after she was convicted of murdering a New Jersey State Trooper in 1973,” Malliotakis said. “The United States should not proceed in normalizing relations with the communist nation or removing it from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List without significant commitments and concessions from the Castro regime.” 

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