- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida’s Republican-led Legislature on Wednesday sharply criticized President Barack Obama’s decision to renew diplomatic relations with the island nation of Cuba.

The House voted for a resolution that not only criticizes Obama’s efforts but also says that the Legislature remains firmly opposed to the opening of any Cuban consulate or diplomatic office in the state.

The resolution has no legal force, but it is a reminder that many Florida politicians remain staunchly behind the embargo.

The three-page message to Obama and Congress expresses “profound disagreement” with the president’s decision last December to restore relations with the communist nation just 90 miles off the Florida coast. It says Fidel and Raul Castro have mistreated Cuban citizens since they took power in 1959.

Gov. Rick Scott praised the vote by the Legislature.

“While the Castro regime continues to work against the freedom of the Cuban people, I will continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Cuba and their pro-Democracy movement,” he said.

The resolution was approved by voice vote.

The only legislator to speak against it was Rep. Joseph Geller, a Democrat from Aventura.

Geller, who noted his wife was born in Cuba and that he has done work with Cuban activists, questioned the need for the resolution.

“I’m tired of seeing this empty rhetoric that does nothing to free the people of Cuba,” Geller said.

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