By PABLO BACHELET | Miami Herald
(origina title:Lawmakers push a united, hard-line front on Cuba)
Congressmen Lincoln Diaz-Balart, left, and Mario Diaz-Balart, shown with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, are lobbying Eastern European nations to isolate Cuba.
C.M. GUERRERO/EL NUEVO HERALD
After beating back efforts to ease U.S. sanctions on Cuba in Congress, Cuban-American lawmakers are embarking on a major push to isolate the Castro government on the international stage.
Miami Republican Reps. Lincoln and Mario Díaz-Balart and New Jersey Democrat Albio Sires are today wrapping up a three-day trip to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The trip will be followed by another to Latin America in the coming weeks, according to members of the delegation.
The trip’s organizers say the idea is to raise the international profile of dissidents on the island, call on countries to settle for nothing less than free elections in Cuba after Fidel Castro dies and present a united front of major dissident and exile groups before the world community.
But it will likely be an uphill battle. While the former Soviet-bloc nations are generally receptive, other European and Latin American nations are more skeptical, believing that U.S. sanctions have not worked and more engagement with Havana stands a better chance of bringing democratic change.
‘‘One of the reasons why the regime has lasted so long is the lack of international solidarity, especially in Latin America,’’ Lincoln Díaz-Balart told The Miami Herald by phone from Budapest. ``And so the role of Europe, and especially East and Central Europe, is extraordinarily important.’’