U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released the following statement after President Obama announced the release of Alan Gross and efforts to normalize trade and travel relations between the United States and Cuba.
I applaud President Obama’s announcement today that the United States will finally take steps to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. Decades of embargo and isolation have not worked to bring fundamental change to Cuba and have instead become a source of friction between the United States and our partners in the Western Hemisphere and across the globe.
It is high time that we take a different approach to bring democracy and prosperity to the people of Cuba. The changes announced by the President today – including increased people-to-people ties and expanded commerce – should help to empower the people of Cuba to improve their lives. While these new policies will not bring change overnight, I am optimistic that this new engagement and dialogue is more likely to succeed than our hard-line, isolationist policies of the last fifty years. In any event, I look forward to carefully reviewing the details of this policy in the Foreign Relations Committee early in the next session of Congress.
I am also pleased that Alan Gross has been released from prison in Cuba and is finally back home with his family. Cuba has a long way to go, but today marks an important first step in what I hope will be a much brighter future between the peoples of the United States and Cuba.