Menendez criticizes Flake over Castro brothers spring break joke

When Senator Jeff Flake attempted a joke about hosting spring break in Cuba during the Secretary of State confirmation hearings, he received a few chuckles.

“I often felt that if we want real get-tough policy with the Castro brothers we should force them to deal with spring break once or twice,” said Flake referring to the American travel restrictions that have existed for more than half a century.

But the joke fell flat with Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who during his closing statement, took the opportunity to reply to Flake with Cuban history.

“I had no intention of raising it, but, you know, to suggest that spring break is a form of — a form of torture to the Castro regime — unfortunately, they are experts about torture, as is evidenced by the increasing brutal crackdown on peaceful democracy advocates on the island just in the last year, over 6,600 peaceful democracy advocates detained or arrested,” said Menendez.

“Just this past Sunday, the Ladies in White, a group of women who dress in white and march every Sunday with a gladiolus to church, tried to come together to go to church this past Sunday. And the result of that, these are individuals who are the relatives of former or current political prisoners in Castro’s jails…is that more than 35 of the Women in White were intercepted, beaten with belts, threatened [with] death by agents aiming guns at them and temporarily arrested.”

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