WASHINGTON, D.C. — West Virginia Second District Congressman Alex Mooney has as unique perspective on President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba.
Mooney’s mother grew up there and escaped when she was 21. Mooney said Monday on MetroNews ‘Talkline’ President Obama’s decision to visit there is a bad idea.
“I think it’s a mistake. I think by him going and treating the Castro brother dictators as legitimate leaders of the country is legitimizing them and the oppressed there aren’t getting anything from this visit,” Mooney said.
The visit undermines bringing freedom to the Communist nation, according to Mooney.
“I think it undercuts their efforts because those efforts would be emboldened by a President and an America who is standing with them and not the person oppressing them,” he said.
Mooney’s mother spent her 21st birthday in a prison cell in Cuba and later fled the country where she was raised. Her family members also were able to escape. She waited 28 years to return to the country, Mooney said. Since then, she’s participated in approximately eight humanitarian missions.
Forty members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, joined President Obama on his visit.
In a speech Monday afternoon, Obama said the effort to normalize relations is about “advancing the mutual interests of our two countries and improving the lives of both Cubans and Americans. That’s why I’m here,” Obama said.
President Obama has continually called on Congress to lift the trade embargo with Cuba.