You may be aware that President Obama recently took steps toward normalizing the United States’ relationship with Cuba, including removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. While Cuba would provide us with additional agriculture markets, we must remember the gross human rights violations of the Cuban government and their opposition to democracy.

That is why last week I sponsored legislation that would prevent the Castro regime’s military and security services from reaping any economic rewards from President Obama’s recent policy shifts toward Cuba. Specifically, the Cuban Military Transparency Act would:

Identify and prohibit financial transactions with the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, the Ministry of the Interior, their sub-divisions and leadership; Amend the Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program to include the

arrest or conviction of the individuals responsible for the February 24th 1996 deadly attack on United States aircraft; Direct the Attorney General to coordinate with Interpol regarding the

capture of U.S. fugitives in Cuba; Direct the President to provide reports on the role of the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior in Cuba and the return of property that has been confiscated by the Government of Cuba; and Provide exemptions for current "cash-in-advance" sale of agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices and remittances to family members and transactions related to democracy promotion programs.

I sponsored this bill because I believe the United States must oppose a regime that sponsors terrorism and harbors fugitives from American justice. We should not support the Castro brothers as they undermine our efforts here at home to combat crime, drugs, and the destruction of our communities. And I believe we must stand squarely on the side of the Cuban people.

I do not oppose normalization of relations with Cuba. But I do oppose normalization given in exchange for no improvement on democracy and no fundamental economic reforms that would pave the way for true free trade between our peoples.