Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) attacked President Barack Obama on Wednesday over news that the administration was planning to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba.
The revelation dovetailed news of an agreement with Cuba that included the release of U.S. contractor Alan Gross by the regime, in exchange for three Cuban spies who were arrested in Miami in 2001.
“Let’s be clear, this was not a ‘humanitarian’ act by the Castro regime. It was a swap of convicted spies for an innocent American,” Menendez said in a statement. “President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.”
He added: “Trading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips. … This asymmetrical trade will invite further belligerence toward Cuba’s opposition movement and the hardening of the government’s dictatorial hold on its people.”