(ThinkProgress) -- Republicans and at least one senior Democrat swiftly condemned President Barack Obama’s announcement on Wednesday of a normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba.
The announcement came after the Cuban government released Alan Gross — a prisoner who was being held on espionage charges for trying to establish a telecommunications network outside of government control — and another U.S. intelligence agent. The United States sent back three Cuban spies in exchange. The U.S. will also begin the process of removing Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism. The new approach represents the largest policy change since the U.S. imposed its embargo against Cuba in January of 1961 in the aftermath of the communist revolution led by Fidel Castro.
Republicans expressed enthusiasm for Gross’ release but spoke out against the administration’s new approach. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) argued that America’s policy toward the island nation “should not be revisited…until the Cuban people enjoy freedom — and not a second sooner” and characterized the move as “another in a long line of mindless concessions to a dictatorship.”
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