No Celebrating For Cuban-Americans in Congress
Far from rejoicing, hard-line Cuban-Americans in Congress say Cuba has replaced one dictator with another. There's no popping of champagne corks over the news that Fidel Castro has stepped aside and will likely be replaced by his brother, Raul Castro.
"There's really no reason to celebrate yet," says Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who represents Miami. "Fidel and Raul are interchangeable thugs."
In fact, Castro's resignation seemed to only fuel her disdain for the aging and ailing Communist regime leader. She wants Castro tried for murder for the deaths of four American rescue workers who were killed in the 1996 downing of a humanitarian flight off the Cuban coast.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) tells the Sleuth there's no rejoicing until Castro is gone... for good. "We've been waiting, hoping for the moment of Castro's death...All fear, all power lies with one man: Fidel Castro. While he is alive, while that dictatorship is still alive, that's going to be the case."
The only silver lining, Diaz-Balart says, is that Castro's resignation is "one more demonstration that the man is very, very ill and he's clearly not going to be here very much longer. I'm not saying that's going to be tomorrow or next week."
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.,), who was born in Cuba, was only slightly more upbeat. In an interview with CNN, he said while Cuba continues to be ruled by a dictator "we have one down, maybe one to go."
Mary Ann Akers
February 20, 2008; 6:05 PM ET
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