Hoeven Statement in Response to the President's Announcement of a Change in Cuba Policy, the Release of Alan Gross

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will change U.S. policy toward Cuba:

“Like all of us, I celebrate the release of American Alan Gross after five years of captivity in Cuba and welcome his return. I can only imagine his family’s relief and joy when they were reunited with him.

“With regard to Cuba policy, I am committed to expanding agricultural trade where we can. Easing trade restrictions on selling food to Cuba could have mutual benefits for us and for the Cuban people. At the same time, however, we have to acknowledge that the Cuban government has a record of terrible human rights violations and that we have yet to see any real progress in that regard. If we are going to normalize economic and diplomatic relations with Cuba, the Castro regime needs to first change its approach to human rights.”