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'An insult to the exiles': Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar on the Cuban ambassador's visit to Miami

"It is an insult to the exile community that the Castro ambassador has walked the streets of Miami," said U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar

June 17, 2022 3:06pm

Updated: June 17, 2022 3:49pm

Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar blasted Cuban ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera's Wednesday visit to Miami, and described his walking freely on the streets as an "insult."

"It is an insult to the exile that Castro's ambassador walked the streets of Miami!" said Salazar, a U.S. Representative whose constituents are the largest community of Cubans and descendants in South Florida.

"Did she come to continue promoting the 'business' she has with Cuban passports abroad?" Salazar asked on Twitter. "I have said it, it is dangerous for the United States to be weak with the Cuban dictatorship."

Torres Rivera, Cuba's ambassador in Washington DC, made a "secret" visit to Miami at the end of May to meet with businessmen who own travel and shipping businesses to the island, América Noticias revealed on Wednesday.

The diplomat of the communist regime traveled with Consul Nora Albertis Monterrey, according to three sources who spoke on a condition of anonymity with a Miami local news channel.

Torres visited the city for the first time since her appointment in December 2020, and her stay in Miami coincided with a "radical shift in Cuba policy by President Joe Biden's administration," reported Herald staff writer Mario J. Pentón.

The Biden Administration announced on May 16 new measures in its Cuba policy, which included the increase in the allowable limit of remittances, the reestablishment of charter and regular flights to the island's provinces, the authorization of group travel for "educational" purposes, and the increase in the processing of visas at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

According to sources consulted by the reporter, the diplomat asked those who met with her for maximum discretion regarding her itinerary to avoid demonstrations against her in Miami, which is the stronghold of the U.S. Cuban-exile community and base of the opposition to the communist government.

"The ambassador assured the companies she met with in Miami that the regime is interested in speeding up the procedures for obtaining Cuban passports, a business that creates significant profits for the dictatorship, which charges its citizens in the United States almost $500 for a travel document that is only good for two years," said Pentón, who was blocked on Twitter by Torres Rivera.

America Noticias' sources "said that the ambassador's trip was also intended to support the Bridges of Love movement that calls for an end to sanctions against the Cuban regime and is chaired by activist Carlos Lazo," added Penton. 

Salome Garcia Bacallao, an activist for democracy in Cuba, raised the following question this Thursday: "When are the exiles going to go to protest the agencies that meet with the Cuban ambassador!?"