U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) released this statement following today's announcement regarding the administration's policy change toward Cuba:
"I join all Americans in welcoming home Alan Gross, who was unjustifiably and brutally imprisoned by the Cuban regime.
"However, the administration's decision to release Cuban agents convicted of espionage will only encourage other dictatorships to use American prisoners as leverage in order to gain concessions from the U.S.
"Cuba remains a state sponsor of terrorism that continues to deprive its people of their basic civil liberties and political rights and has recently trafficked in arms with regimes like North Korea. By seeking to normalize relations, the administration is rewarding the very behavior we want to end and sending a confusing message to political prisoners in Cuba and around the world.
"Before considering such a major policy shift and giving the Cuban government what it wants, the Obama administration should have demanded that Cuba first end its support for terrorism and its oppression of the Cuban people.
"While I support efforts to empower the Cuban people in the face of their government's oppression, the President's policy shift will only strengthen the Cuban regime and reduce its incentives to respect the human rights of the Cuban people and to end its support for terrorism."