This Wednesday, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Republican congresswoman outlined tough, hard-hitting questions in defense of Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and Colombians.
Salazar began her questioning by greeting the Secretary and asking him a direct question: “Secretary, it is a pleasure to meet you. I represent Miami, which is the capital of the Americas and home to thousands and thousands of exiles from all over Latin America. Are you committed to continuing to implement the Helms-Burton Act until the Castro regime allows the return of democracy to Cuba? Yes or no?”
Blinken, without making the position very clear, responded that the Biden administration would not change Cuba policy without first consulting Congress: “We are not going to take any unilateral action in Cuba without consulting Congress.”
Salazar, not satisfied with the answer, demanded again: “Are you going to continue implementing it [Helms-Burton Act], yes or no?
The secretary asserted that Joe Biden’s administration will maintain the law, despite the fact that it was brought back by the Trump administration after decades of suspense.
Rep. María Elvira Salazar continued her questions regarding Cuba, asking the secretary about his commitment to the Cuban American community and the importance of its inclusion in U.S. foreign policy toward the Castro regime: “Are you going to commit to consulting with the Cuban American exile community before committing to any kind of economic or political negotiations with the Cuban regime?”
Blinken, as in the first question, responded in a few words, “Absolutely, we will consult your community.”
María Elvira Salazar and her concern for Colombia
A couple of months ago, Semana published a report containing Colombian intelligence reports detailing that Cuba has a plan to extend its tentacles and get into the presidential electoral process of 2022.
Rep. María Elvira Salazar Salazar did not pass the opportunity to ask the secretary his opinion on the matter.
“Let’s talk about Colombia. Two months ago the Colombian media intercepted a dossier coming from Cuba, which highlights, in detail, how Havana is plotting to steal the Colombian elections. Did you know about this?”, Salazar inquired.
Blinken, almost indifferent, told the congresswoman that she did not know about the Revista Semana report and Salazar reacted with a practical scolding: “Well, this was published in a very reputable Colombian media, maybe you should see it.”
Salazar in defense of Venezuelans and Nicaraguans
In Nicaragua, by November of this year, an “electoral process” without institutional guarantees, is approaching. This situation did not go unnoticed by Salazar who asked the Secretary if he was concerned about the participation of the “opposition” in those elections: “Are you concerned that the Nicaraguan opposition will participate in the upcoming presidential elections without a guarantee that those elections will be free and fair?
Blinken responded evasively that “we are concerned about those elections and that they will be free and fair.”
Salazar then took aim at the Sandinista Ortega regime, “Have you considered breaking relations with Nicaragua and the Ortega regime if they are not free? Will you consider the possibility if the elections are stolen?”
The secretary limited himself to answering that they always evaluate all options, but that his job “at the State Department is to continue to look for ways to engage with countries.” Then, María Elvira insisted if that position would be maintained even if Ortega steals the November elections, Blinken did not answer the second demand.
Finally, the representative for Florida did not forget to take aim at Maduro’s tyranny.
“Would you consider including Venezuela on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, now?” asked Salazar. Blinken, again, almost by protocol, said that would only happen if Caracas meets the necessary requirements in the law.
Maria Elvira ended her questioning the same way she started, roughly: “They have relations with Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran…”