Hillary Clinton Se Une en Actitud de Culpar Primero a E.U. en Discurso en FIU. El Único Embargo Que Debe Ser Levantado Es El Que Tiene Castro Sobre La Libertad, Derechos Humanos y Sobre El Pueblo Cubano, Dice Ros-Lehtinen
(Washington, DC) – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL), Presidente del Subcomité del Medio Oriente y África del Norte, hizo la siguiente declaración en respuesta al discurso de Hillary Clinton sobre la normalización de relaciones con Cuba esta mañana en el Alma Máter de la Congresista Ros-Lehtinen, FIU. Destacó Ros-Lehtinen:
“El discurso de Hillary Clinton esta mañana en mi Alma Máter, FIU, es típico de la actitud de aquellos que culpan primero a Estados Unidos e ingenuamente creen que el embargo contra Castro ha sido el impedimento para que Cuba entre al Siglo 21. Este argumento es fatalmente incorrecto y por el contrario, no es el embargo de E.U. lo que ha perjudicado a la población sino el embargo de Fidel y Raúl Castro contra el pueblo cubano al prohibirles libertad, democracia, y derechos humanos lo que ha impedido el progreso.
Es lógica irracional que Clinton y el Presidente Obama no tienen problema en decir que el cambio en Cuba no pasará rápidamente, pero todavía abogan porque ocurran rápido los cambios a la política de E.U. ¿Por qué esta doble moral? ¿Por qué debe los Estados Unidos cambiar su política mientras los hermanos Castro no tienen que hacer reformas substantivas y continúan arrestando indiscriminadamente a líderes pro-democracia?
El resto del mundo ha tenido relaciones económicas y políticas abiertas y sin obstáculo con el régimen de Castro, no obstante 11 millones de cubanos continúan sufriendo una de las opresiones más terribles del mundo bajo los dictadores comunistas. Es una dualidad proponer que levantar el embargo hará otra cosa que seguir ayudando a los secuaces en La Habana a expensas de ciudadanos cubanos. El embargo de Castro sobre el pueblo cubano debe ser primero levantado y necesitamos ver elecciones libres, justas, y transparentes, libertad de prensa, y la liberación de todos los presos políticos, antes que podamos empezar a examinar el levantamiento del embargo.”Read More
Hillary Clinton Joins the Blame America First Crowd in Speech at FIU; Only Embargo That Should be Lifted is the One on Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights That Castro Has On the Cuban People, Says Ros-Lehtinen
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement in response to Hillary Clinton’s remarks regarding the normalization of relations with Cuba this morning at Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s alma mater, Florida International University. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Hillary Clinton’s speech this morning at my alma mater, FIU, is typical of the Blame America First crowd who naively believe that it is the embargo against Castro that has been the impediment to bringing the island into the 21st century. This argument is fatally flawed and backward; it isn’t the embargo that has held the people back, but rather it is the embargo by Fidel and Raul Castro against the people of Cuba and denying them freedom, democracy and human rights that have prevented progress.
“It's lopsided logic that Clinton and President Obama have no problem acknowledging that change in Cuba will not happen quickly, yet they advocate for changes to U.S. policy towards Cuba to occur quickly? Why the double standard? Why should the U.S. change its policies while the Castro brothers do not have to make any substantive reforms and continue to throw pro-democracy leaders in jail indiscriminately?
“The rest of the world has had open, unhindered economic and political relations with the Castro regime, yet the 11 million Cubans continue to suffer some of the world’s worst oppression under the communist dictators. It is disingenuous to suggest lifting the embargo will do anything other than further entrench and embolden the feckless thugs in Havana at the expense of the Cuban people. The Castro embargo on the Cuban people must be lifted first and we need to see free, fair and transparent elections, freedom of the press, and the liberation of all political prisoners, before we even begin to examine lifting the embargo.”
Ros-Lehtinen Introduces the Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act in Advance of Congressional Field Hearing in South Florida on Biscayne National Park’s Proposed No-Fishing Zone
“It’s especially important to me that we reconnect South Floridians with the natural lands and waters that surround and support our community, and that means giving folks as many opportunities as possible to enjoy, and thrive alongside, the ‘watery wonderland’ of Biscayne National Park.”
(Washington, DC) – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen introduced the Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act (H.R. 3310) with the bipartisan support of 30 House colleagues. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo are among 18 members of the Florida congressional delegation to have cosponsored H.R. 3310. This bill would ensure that federal and state agencies collaborate in the development of any new fishing access restrictions in areas where state marine waters and national park or national marine sanctuary boundaries overlap.
The bill was developed in response to the new moratorium on fishing proposed by the National Park Service across 10,500 acres of park waters and 30% of Biscayne National Park’s reefs over the objections of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and many members of the public. Given the importance of both recreational and commercial fishing to Florida’s economy, and the large impact this closure would have on one of the most visited and fished marine parks in the United States, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen is working to make sure that federal and state government agencies collaborate to protect fishermen’s livelihoods, improve recreational opportunities for families, and conserve our precious environmental resources.
The bill is supported by FWC and a diverse array of fishermen, conservationists, and industry groups including the American Sportfishing Association, Cape Canaveral Shrimp Company, Inc., Center for Coastal Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Dixie Crossroads Inc./Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant, Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Organized Fishermen of Florida, Southeastern Fisheries Association, Inc., and Wild Ocean Seafood Market.
Additionally, on Monday, August 3, 2015, at 10:00am the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Small Business will hold a joint oversight hearing titled, “Restricted Access at Biscayne National Park and Implications for Fishermen, Small Businesses, the Local Economy and Environment.” This hearing will be held at the William F. Dickinson Community Center, 1601 N. Krome Avenue, in Homestead, Florida.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“We all have a stake in the protection of Biscayne National Park’s natural resources and the preservation of vital economic and recreational opportunities that depend on Biscayne’s beauty and bounty. Over the past 15 years, I have prodded the National Park Service to increase their outreach and work together with all stakeholders in the process of developing a new General Management Plan. However, the stubborn and unsupported inclusion of a no-fishing zone in the park’s final proposal seems to be the result of a process that treats collaboration like a check box on a form, rather than as a serious dialogue between partners. That’s not right, and we should demand better from our federal government.
It’s especially important to me that we reconnect South Floridians with the natural lands and waters that surround and support our community, and that means giving folks as many opportunities as possible to enjoy, and thrive alongside, the ‘watery wonderland’ of Biscayne National Park. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass the Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act, and continue strengthening the ties that bind local communities to their public lands and waters.”
FWC Letter of Support for the Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act:
Dear Representative Ros-Lehtinen:
On behalf of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), I am pleased to support the “Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act.”
Biscayne National Park is one of America’s treasures. The United States National Park Service (NPS) calls it, “A Watery Wonderland.” FWC agrees.
Biscayne National Park is a destination for outdoor enthusiasts who wish to boat, kayak, snorkel, camp, observe wildlife, and especially fish. NPS says, “…Biscayne National Park offers diverse fishing experiences. Although the park is part of a federal (emphasis courtesy of NPS’s website) agency, fishing and other harvesting activities are largely governed by state (emphasis courtesy of NPS’s website) law.” FWC agrees.
FWC endeavors to provide a well-balanced approach to ensuring opportunities for resource use and conservation and, in many cases, Florida is admired for its ability to balance both interests fairly using the best empirical and objective data available. NPS’s Ocean and Coastal Resources Program states, “Ocean and coastal park management requires specialized experience with shoreline, island, marine, and Great Lakes environments.” FWC agrees and believes that state fish and wildlife management agencies have the most knowledgeable and specialized experience dealing with management of these local environments. NPS acknowledges, “Regulations concerning fishing and the take of fish from National Parks are most often established in coordination and cooperation with the State fisheries departments in which state(s) the park occurs.” In fact, the Federal Code of Regulations (C.F.R. Section 2.3), which governs the use and management of National Park System areas, requires that fishing occur in accordance with “the laws and regulations of the State within whose exterior boundaries a park area or portion thereof is located,’ except for parks (such as Biscayne) for which special exceptions have been made.
NPS admits, “Park staff work with the State of Florida to promote regulations that ensure the long-term sustainability of fisheries resources.” FWC is grateful to have partnered with NPS on development of many of the fishing-related policies for Biscayne National Park. However, the FWC’s and the NPS’s philosophies differ with respect to when fishery closures should be implemented. FWC believes the natural resources managed by the NPS, such as all the other resources of this great nation, belong to the people of the United States of America, and that the people should not be denied access to their resources unless extreme circumstance dictate that no other reasonable option will accomplish the goals of an appropriate management plan. Therefore, FWC believes that fishery closures are a tool of last resort that should only be used when all other management measures have been tried and failed. FWC does not believe that Biscayne National Park has adequately considered or attempted less restrictive management measures that could be used to reach NPS’s goals. While NPS’s own motto is “Experience Your America,” it has expressed its intent to close a 10,000 plus acre area to fishing within Biscayne National Park before any of the intended actions detailed in the recently finalized Fishery Management Plan have even been implemented.
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, FWC and NPS agree that the waters and other natural resources of Biscayne National Park are unique and worthy of special conservation measures. FWC worked closely with NPS staff in the development of the Fishery Management Plan, and our FWC Commissioners expressed their formal support for finalizing that plan and implementing various measures described therein in order to accomplish NPS’s goals. That is why FWC was extremely disappointed when NPS recently released its General Management Plan (GMP) for Biscayne National Park, which outlines NPS’s decision to eliminate fishing completely in more than 10,000 acres of the best habitat for reef fishing.
Prior to releasing the GMP, FWC and other interested parties worked with NPS to provide information, data, common-sense reasoning, and alternative fishery management plans to keep the waters of Biscayne National Park open. This was so that local commercial fishermen and professional fishing guides could continue to make a living, and fishing enthusiasts from the United States and around the world could enjoy our country’s “Watery Wonderland.” Yet, NPS effectively disregarded the information and decided to eliminate fishing in this area. FWC stands with millions of anglers, boaters, wildlife observers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who oppose this closure.
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, thank you for sponsoring the “Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act.” This important legislation will require federal agencies to coordinate with state agencies and get their approval prior to making decisions that affect millions of Americans adversely. FWC looks forward to working with you to advance this important piece of legislation.
Florida Fish and Wildlife
Luchando a Favor del Sur de la Florida, Ros-Lehtinen Apoya Importantes Proyectos de Ley Para Ayudar Veteranos y Mantener Seguridad de Los Viajeros
“Tenemos que procurar obtener mejores resultados para todos los residentes del Sur de la Florida, para que nuestra economía pueda crecer y crear nuevos empleos en nuestra comunidad.”
(Washington, DC) – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL – 27) apoyó varios proyectos de ley esta semana que mejorarán la vida de los residentes del Sur de la Florida. Con su largo expediente apoyando a los veteranos de nuestra nación, como esposa de un veterano herido en combate que se presentó voluntariamente para el servicio en Vietnam, y como madrastra de dos veteranos de la Marina quienes actualmente sirven en la Reserva, Ros-Lehtinen entiende las necesidades de nuestros héroes y sus familias. Su lucha en favor de la seguridad del público en general es bien conocida y ella continúa trabajando arduamente para asegurar que el público tenga experiencia de viaje seguro. Su apoyo a estos proyectos de ley ayudarán a asegurar que nuestra nación honre a quienes la sirvieron y mantener nuestros cielos seguros.
Los proyectos son:
· el Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, que aumentara la cantidad de dinero que reciben veteranos con heridas relacionadas al servicio;
· el Veterans Entrepreneurship Act, que ayudara a veteranos empresarios con acceso a mayor capital y crear más empleos;
· el Improved Security Vetting for Aviation Workers Act, que ayudará a mejorar programas de la Administración de Seguridad de Transporte (TSA por sus siglas en inglés) para asegurar a los pasajeros;
· el Keeping Our Travelers Safe and Secure Act, que requiere mantenimiento específico para equipo de seguridad de aeropuerto; y
· el TSA PreCheck Expansion Act, que requiere mejoría al programa PreCheck administrado por el TSA.
“Despues de su valiente servicio a nuestra nación, nuestros veteranos merecen oportunidades y ayuda para realizar sus sueños y objetivos. Adicionalmente, los viajeros deben de saber que estamos trabajando constantemente para asegurar nuestros cielos. Tenemos que procurar obtener mejores resultados para todos los residentes del Sur de la Florida para que nuestra economía pueda crecer y crear nuevos empleos en nuestra comunidad.”
Iran Nuke Deal Likely to Lead to Greater Cooperation Between Tehran and Pyongyang on Ballistic Missiles and Nuclear Weapons, Says Ros-Lehtinen
“The totality of this deal hinges on a bet by the administration and the rest of the P5+1 that the Iranian regime will see the error of its ways and wants to be part of the global community and will forsake its support for terror and other illicit behavior”
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement at a joint subcommittee hearing entitled, “The Iran-North Korea Strategic Alliance.” The hearing was held jointly by the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, Asia and Pacific and Middle East and North Africa subcommittees. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“I want to thank Judge Poe and Chairman Salmon for bringing our three subcommittees together to focus on the nexus between these two rogue regimes: Iran and North Korea.
As Congress continues to do our due diligence on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the P5+1 and Iran that the Obama administration submitted to us last week, it’s important that we do not make the same mistakes again. In 2008, I was outspoken against the George W. Bush administration for removing North Korea from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list as a concession to Pyongyang during negotiations over its nuclear program, and I am outspoken against the Obama administration’s concessions to Tehran during the negotiations, and ultimately, this deal. Yet, as far back as the Clinton administration, each administration continues to make the same mistakes of offering these rogue nations concessions while allowing them to maintain their nuclear infrastructure and misguidedly falling back on hope that this time will be different – this time, things will change.
These negotiations mirror the same track the nuclear negotiations with North Korea took. Iran has been following the North Korean playbook on exactly how to extract concessions from the U.S. and the international community, while simultaneously continuing to improve its nuclear program, expand its infrastructure and support its illicit activities. But it isn’t just that the Iranian regime is following the North Korean playbook, successfully I might add, it’s that the Obama administration is following the same failed playbook that the Clinton and Bush administrations pursued. It is alarming and striking just how similar the language is between President Clinton’s 1994 announcement of a nuclear agreement with North Korea and President Obama’s announcement of a nuclear agreement with Iran earlier this month.
Last week, Alan Dershowitz wrote about the similarities - and even posted a chart that represented the similarities in language – the words used - between the Clinton and Obama statements. In 1994, President Clinton said the North Korea agreement will make the U.S., the Korean Peninsula and the world safer; he assured us that the deal didn’t rely on trust – that compliance would be certified by the IAEA. President Clinton also made the dubious claim that, because of our willingness to engage North Korea on its nuclear profile alone would be a crucial step toward drawing Pyongyang into the global community and predicted the end of the rogue regime’s isolation.
Does any of this sound familiar to us – it should, because these are the very same arguments President Obama used when announcing the Iran deal. When the North Korea deal was reached, one of the most significant flaws was that it failed to dismantle any of Pyongyang’s nuclear infrastructure. The deal was designed merely to delay the North Korean bomb, not prevent it – and we even promised, as we are doing in the JCPOA, to modernize and improve North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure. And now we’re aiming to prevent the Iranian bomb.
The totality of this deal hinges on a bet by the administration and the rest of the P5+1 that the Iranian regime will see the error of its ways and wants to be part of the global community and will forsake its support for terror and other illicit behavior. That is a heck of a gamble to make when all of – not even just the preponderance, but all of – the evidence indicates that this is not the likely outcome, but rather that Iran will use this as a means to increase its belligerence.
And now, with this deal, we are likely to see an increase in Iran and North Korean activity on ballistic missiles and covert nuclear activities, because not only will we be lifting the sanctions on Iranian scientists and on Iran’s nuclear program, but we will be lifting the sanctions on its ballistic missile program and its military leaders. And that is where Iran and North Korea are likely to resume their cooperation – on the weaponization and the ballistic missiles.
That is a dangerous gamble for us to make with U.S. national security, and it is not a gamble I or any of us should be willing to take. And that is why we must reject this deal, demand a better deal or else re-impose the sanctions and use the only action Iran understands – strength – to force it to abandon its nuclear ambitions.”
Fighting For South Floridians, Ros-Lehtinen Supports Important Bills To Help Veterans and Keep Travelers Safe
“We must strive to do better for all South Floridians so we can grow our economy and create new jobs in our community.”
(Washington, DC) - Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL – 27) supported several bills this week to improve the lives of South Floridians. As a longtime supporter of our nation’s veterans, the wife of a veteran who volunteered for service in Vietnam and was wounded in combat, and the stepmother to two Marine veterans who are currently Marine reservists, Ros-Lehtinen understands the needs of our nation’s heroes and their families. Her advocacy for the safety of the general public is also well documented and she continues to work diligently to ensure that the public has secure travel experiences. Her support of these bills will help make sure our nation honors those who served and keeps our skies safe.
The bills are:
· the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, which would increase the amount of money veterans with service-connected disabilities receive;
· the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act, which would help veteran entrepreneurs access increased capital and create more jobs;
· the Improved Security Vetting for Aviation Workers Act, which would work to help improve Transportation Security Administration (TSA) programs to help keep travelers safe;
· the Keeping Our Travelers Safe and Secure Act, which would require specific maintenance standards for airport security equipment; and
· the TSA PreCheck Expansion Act, which would require improvements to the PreCheck program administered by TSA.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Our nation’s veterans deserve to live a life without compromise, and should have the ability to pursue any venture after their valiant service to our nation. Additionally, travelers should know that we are constantly working to keep our country’s skies safe. We must strive to do better for all South Floridians so we can grow our economy and create new jobs in our community.”
Ros-Lehtinen Praises Passage of the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act
“By curbing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, we protect the livelihoods of American fishermen, preserve more recreational opportunities for families, conserve our precious fisheries resources, and reduce human impacts on our coastal environment.”
(Washington, DC) – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen praised the passage of the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act as it is unfortunately common for foreign vessels to poach fish from American waters. This illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is difficult to track, but it is estimated that the annual global value of these stolen fish is between $10 billion and $23.5 billion. Those vessels that are caught typically suffer little to no penalty at all, and are simply sent back to their country of origin. The Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act strengthens enforcement mechanisms and evens the playing field for American fishermen by keeping illegal seafood out of the market.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“I am proud to have cosponsored this bill that will help stop illegal fishing in American waters. By curbing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, we protect the livelihoods of American fishermen, preserve more recreational opportunities for families, conserve our precious fisheries resources, and reduce human impacts on our coastal environment.”
Ascenso de Cuba a Nivel 2 del Reporte de Tráfico de Personas Insulta al Pueblo Cubano
“Es conocido que el régimen de Castro no sólo apoya el turismo sexual, sino que se beneficia de él”
(Washington, DC) – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Presidente del Subcomité del Medio Oriente y África del Norte, hizo la siguiente declaración tras el ascenso de Cuba del nivel 3 al nivel 2 en el reporte anual de tráfico de personas del Departamento de Estado. Destacó Ros-Lehtinen:
“Se ha hecho claro que la voluntad de la Casa Blanca de hacer todo lo posible para apaciguar a los dictadores despiadados de Cuba no conoce límites. El Departamento de Estado anunció hoy en su entrega del Reporte de Tráfico de Personas (TIP por sus siglas en inglés) de 2015, en una carta escrita por el Secretario Kerry en la página web del Departamento de Estado donde declaró que ‘El tráfico de personas es un insulto a la dignidad humana y un asalto a la libertad.’ Aún así, parece ser que Cuba es la excepción a estas palabras. El Departamento de Estado ha insultado al pueblo de Cuba ascendiendo a Cuba al nivel 2 de la lista de observación.
“Es conocido que el régimen de Castro no sólo apoya el turismo sexual, sino que se beneficia de él. En febrero de este año la líder de Damas de Blanco, Berta Soler testificó frente al Congreso declarando que el régimen de Castro promueve la prostitución infantil en Cuba. Durante la audiencia Congresional aseguró que las jóvenes en Cuba se estarían ‘preparando para cuando el turismo americano llegue de manera que puedan venderse a turistas estadounidenses’ Esta es la realidad de lo que sucede en la Cuba de Castro que ha sido ignorada por el Departamento de Estado por sus propias razones políticas.”Read More
Middle East Remains Major Concern in State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report; Iran’s Continued Inclusion as Tier 3 Country Further Evidence of Bad Nuclear Deal
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement after the State Department released its 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report which places countries into one of four tiers to indicate “the extent of government action to combat trafficking.” Six countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including Algeria, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, were placed on the Tier 3 List, the highest level of concern, while five additional countries in the region were placed on the Tier 2 Watch List. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Failure to combat human trafficking remains a major problem in the Middle East and North Africa with over half the countries in the region rating at the highest levels of concern in the State Department’s latest TIP report. In a region already vulnerable due to weak and corrupt institutions, human trafficking in the Middle East has been exacerbated by terrorist groups like ISIL that are exploiting the chaos they cause.”
“Iran’s inclusion again as a Tier 3 country in the TIP report is further evidence of the administration’s irresponsibility in pretending Iran’s nuclear program exists in a vacuum. The administration decided to negotiate with Iran exclusively on its nuclear program while ignoring Iran’s other illicit activity and human rights record and is incorrectly arguing that it is only lifting nuclear related sanctions. Despite the administration’s claims, the sanctions being lifted on Iran were never intended solely for its nuclear program but were also designed to address its human rights record, including human trafficking, among other issues. As Iran’s Tier 3 placement shows, human trafficking and human rights are not improving in Iran. We must not lift Iran’s human rights sanctions as part of this weak nuclear deal.”Read More
Upgrading Cuba to Tier 2 Watch List of Trafficking Report Is An Insult to the Cuban People
“It is well known that the Castro regime not only supports sex tourism, but it profits from it.”
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement after the State Department upgrading Cuba to the Tier 2 Watch List from Tier 3 of the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“It has become clear that the White House’s willingness to bend over backward to appease the ruthless dictators in Cuba knows no bounds. As the Department of State announced today the release of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2015, Secretary Kerry penned a letter on State’s website stating ‘Trafficking in persons is an insult to human dignity and an assault on freedom.’ However, it seems like Cuba is an exception to these words as the State Department has insulted the people of Cuba by upgrading Cuba to Tier 2 Watch List.
“It is well known that the Castro regime not only supports sex tourism, but it profits from it. In February of this year, Ladies in White leader Berta Soler testified before Congress that the Castro regime promotes child prostitution in Cuba. At a Congressional hearing, she stated that young women in Cuba are ‘preserving themselves for when American tourism arrives so they can sell themselves to American tourists.’ This is the reality of what occurs in Castro’s Cuba that has been ignored by the State Department for its own political reasons.”Read More
2206 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
I am proud to represent Florida’s 27th Congressional District, a diverse area which includes Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Hialeah, Key Biscayne, Little Havana, Miami, Pinecrest, South Miami, and Westchester.
I was born in Havana, Cuba on July 1952. At the age of eight, my family and I were forced to flee from the oppressive communist regime of Fidel Castro. We settled in Miami and put down permanent roots in our community. I attended Southside Elementary School in Little Havana, West Miami Junior High, and Southwest High School. In the years following, I earned an Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade Community College in 1972, Bachelors and Masters Degree in Education from Florida International University in 1975 and 1985 respectively, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Miami in 2004. I consider education a lifelong journey.
I began my career as a Florida certified teacher. I also founded and served as the principal and teacher of a private bilingual elementary school in Hialeah. I was inspired to enter public service by many of the parents and students; to fight on their behalf for a stronger educational system, lower taxes, and a brighter economic future.
In 1982 I was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives and the Florida Senate in 1986, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in either body. In the state legislature I authored the Florida Prepaid College Plan, which is now the largest pre paid college tuition program in the nation. More than one million Florida families have used this program to send their children to college.
I was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989– the first Hispanic woman to serve in Congress–following a special election to fill the seat held by the late Claude Pepper. I have been strongly returned to Congress since, winning 60% of the vote in 2012.
To this day, I remain committed to improving the lives of my constituents and our beautiful South Florida community. As the economy remains a pressing issue, I support reducing taxes and cutting back unnecessary government spending. I also support plans to balance the federal budget and increase tax incentives for small businesses and middle class families. South Florida has also felt the devastating effects of the housing crisis. I have fought to end predatory lending practices by mortgage companies and extend the first time homebuyers tax credit.
Given my background in education, I have worked to strengthen the Head Start program. I have also supported legislation to increase the availability to student financial aid and revise the cumbersome and complicated Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) process.
I am a strong advocate of programs that address the serious problem of domestic violence against women. I was a lead sponsor of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which increases resources towards the prosecution of domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault. I also support legislation to increase criminal penalties for perpetrators of Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud is a deplorable practice which robs hardworking seniors of the benefits they spent a lifetime earning, while also wasting billions in taxpayer dollars.
As the wife of a Vietnam veteran and step-mother to Marine aviators, I am passionate about improving our nation’s military, safeguarding veteran’s health care, and ensuring that returning veterans have access to a college education. I have been an outspoken critic of the Miami VA’s recent failures to notify veterans who were at risk of infection, due to contaminated colonoscopy equipment. I also authored legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). These women pioneers had been denied recognition for their service during World War II.
I am Chairman emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and am now Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. In this role, I continue to voice my strong support for the state of Israel and human rights, including my opposition to Castro’s dictatorial regime in Cuba. I have also led on pressing foreign policy issues including the fight against Islamist extremism, and support of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.
I also serve as a member of the House Committee on Rules. This Committee decides what legislation makes it to the House floor and its members are chosen by the Speaker of the House. My priorities as a member of this Committee is to get our nation’s economy back on track and ensure passage of legislation that betters the state of our nation.
I am the proud wife to Dexter Lehtinen, mother and step-mother to 4 adult children, and grandmother to two beautiful baby girls – Morgan Elizabeth and Caroline Grace.
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