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  • Writer's pictureFrank Landrian

CUBA TO THE CAPITOL. Progressive lawmakers recent trip to Cuba.

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) speaks with reporters outside the U.S. Capitol Feb. 6, 2024. | Francis Chung/POLITICO via AP Images

CUBA TO THE CAPITOL — Florida’s three Cuban-American Republicans criticized progressive lawmakers for their recent trip to Cuba — and re-upped their support for keeping the country on the state sponsored terrorist list.

Florida Reps. Carlos Giménez, Maria Salazar and Mario Díaz-Balart joined New York Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis on Friday as the four Cuban-American Republicans in Congress.

“Respectfully, but vigorously we ask our colleagues to not be blinded, to follow the facts,” Díaz-Balart said. “And to not be a useful idiot of a regime that has a state sponsor of terrorism 90 miles away that has not had free and democratic elections in six decades.

The four repeated their claims that the Cuban government cannot be trusted, especially after progressive “Squad” members, including Congressional Progressive Caucus leadership members Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Ilhan Omar reportedly took a trip to Cuba. Progressives have long supported taking Cuba off of the State Department’s list of terrorist states.

But the four Republicans were met with their own critics — three protesters showed up at the press conference, calling for Cuba to be taken off the state terrorist list. Salazar jumped on using the demonstration as an example for why Cuba should not be trusted.

“This is exactly what we want for Cuba,” Salazar said. “This type of freedom that anyone can bring with a poster stand right in front of the Capitol and be able to talk to elected officials. That is what we want for Cuba.”

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