Bipartisan Congressional Lawmakers Request Answers from State Department About Cuban Agents Entering the U.S. and Jeopardizing U.S. National Security

Jun 3, 2013

(WASHINGTON) – A bipartisan group of Congressional Members (Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) requested answers today in a letter to Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson regarding the visa granted to Cuban operative Josefina Vidal Ferreiro that allowed her to visit Washington, DC.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

I am outraged that for a second time, Cuban operative Josefina Vidal has been granted a visa to come to the U.S., demonstrating a troubling lack of sympathy for human rights violations in Cuba. This Administration must wake up to the reality that to continue handing out visas to high-ranking officials of the Castro regime is to prop up this hateful regime and its wanton disregard for freedom and democracy. While these regime officials enjoy the liberties while in the U.S., the Cuban people are denied fundamental freedoms and continue to be oppressed and jailed for merely speaking up against the dictatorship. It is appalling and unacceptable that a U.S. citizen has been held unjustly by the Castro regime for years and still this Administration offers concession after concession

Text of letter is below:

Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515
 

June 3, 2013

The Honorable Roberta S. Jacobson
Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20521

Dear Assistant Secretary Jacobson:

We would like to request a meeting with you at your earliest convenience to discuss the fact that the Department of State continues to grant visas to high ranking Cuban regime operatives.  On May 17, 2012, we wrote to then Secretary Hillary Clinton expressing outrage that a visa was provided to Josefina Vidal Ferreiro. Much to our disappointment, we have learned that Vidal was once again granted a visa to travel to Washington, DC last month to meet with you.

As you know, Vidal was married to one of the Cuban diplomats stationed in the U.S. who was declared persona non grata and expelled for his “activities hostile to the national security.” Given her rank at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, her sole mission is to promote the Cuban regime’s propaganda, undermine U.S. interests, and justify the brutal oppression against pro-democracy activists in Cuba. In addition, she has been at the forefront defending the Cuban regime’s unjust holding of a U.S. citizen and harboring U.S. fugitives. With that in mind, we would like you to answer the following questions:

  • What was the purpose and intent of Vidal’s trip to Washington, DC?
  • What issues were discussed during your meeting with Vidal?
  • Can you provide us an update on the Alan Gross case?

These concessions to the Castro dictatorship undermine our efforts to help bring democracy and freedom to the millions oppressed in Cuba. We are concerned that these misguided decisions to allow agents of the Cuban regime inside our nation are irresponsible and jeopardize U.S. national security.

Sincerely,

ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN                                                              MARIO DIAZ-BALART         
Member of Congress                                                                     Member of Congress
 

ALBIO SIRES
Member of Congress