Most political experts figure that Florida will be a close-run state in the presidential election this year, and with 29 electoral votes, it could make or break a candidacy. Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will spend a lot of time in the state, attempting to gain the edge on a state that Obama won in 2008 by just three percentage points. If the Obama administration keeps making decisions like this, though, Romney won’t have to work that hard at all:
The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro has been granted a U.S. visa to attend an academic conference in San Francisco and another event, one of her associates confirmed Thursday. The decision has already drawn fire from Cuban-American politicians and on anti-Castro blogs, which argue that she is an apologist for the Communist government her family has led for decades.
Mariela Castro is a noted advocate of gay rights as the head of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education, and has been pushing for the island to legalize gay marriage for years. She said recently that her father supports her efforts, despite his unwillingness to say so publically[sic].
Castro received a visa from the U.S. State Department and will chair a panel on the politics of sexual diversity at a gathering in San Francisco next week organized by the Latin American Studies Association, an official at her institute told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to discuss the matter. The Web site of the New York Public Library says Castro is also scheduled to talk there on May 29.
Wow. The Cuban-American community in Florida leans Republican, but they’re strongly anti-Castro. They won’t appreciate the decision by the Obama administration to give the dictator’s daughter a pass to the US, especially not for the purpose of politicking. Listening to lectures from the Castro family on the nature of political and cultural freedom is somewhat akin to having to sit through a seminar on graciousness by Morton Downey.
Reaction came immediately, and it’s bipartisan in nature. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) blasted the decision, and he’s not alone:
Cuban-American Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), slammed the decision on Wednesday, even before the trip was confirmed. He called Mariela Castro “a vociferous advocate of the regime and opponent of democracy.” …
Today, four other Cuban-American lawmakers added their voices to the outcry, noting that State Department guidelines prohibit visas to officers of the Communist Party or government of Cuba.
“The administration’s appalling decision to allow regime agents into the U.S. directly contradicts Congressional intent and longstanding U.S. foreign policy,” wrote Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and David Rivera of Florida, along with Albio Sires of New Jersey in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“While the Cuban people struggle for freedom against increasing brutality at the hands of Castro’s thugs, the Obama administration is greeting high-level agents of that murderous dictatorship with open arms,” they wrote. “It is shameful that the Obama Administration would waive the common sense restrictions in place to appease the Castro dictatorship once again.”
Senator Marco Rubio issued a video statement an hour ago:
I think the U.S. government’s decision to grant the daughter of Raul Castro a visa to come to the United States and spread the propaganda of her father’s regime is outrageous and an enormous mistake. Not only that, it sends a terrible message to the democratic movement in Cuba, to those brave people in Cuba who every single day resist and speak out against the tyranny of the Castro brothers. Meanwhile, we are granting a visa to his daughter, who is not just his daughter. She is an arm of his regime, an outspoken supporter and is coming to the United States to spread their anti-American propaganda. It is shameful that they would grant that visa.
Last week, Obama tossed North Carolina aside in his haste to suck up to the LGBT activists on the Left. Today, it’s Florida. Maybe tomorrow it will be Ohio, or Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin, or …