Sen. Leahy on ‘Cuban 5’ Being Returned, ‘The World Didn’t End’
MITCHELL: "It was as hot as it was, as emotional as it was, people were crying and hugging each other, a lot of members of Congress."
LEAHY: "My wife and I were in tears."
MITCHELL: "You have gone to Cuba so many times. Let's talk about that. Was bring. ING Alan Gross back the key circuit breaker that made this possible?"
LEAHY: "That and the remaining three of the Cuban five. Eric Holder, the president and I worked on that for a year or more. It worked out."
MITCHELL: "They were a cause in Cuba for as long as I have covered cuban-u.s. Relations. The last three of those five going back in exchange for Alan Gross."
LEAHY: "And you know what, the world didn't come to an end when we sent them back. Our relationships are better. I think President Obama and Castro a great deal of credit. They obviously get along well. They both told me how much they think of each other. And I'll keep ongoing down there. We thought this day would never come. I'm a very happy senator."
MITCHELL: "You know there's a lot of opposition to this. Diminishing numbers of members of Congress, but certainly others will be speaking in Miami later today. What do you say to them about the fact we have normalized relations despite obvious human rights differences, prisoners who were skill kept."
LEAHY: "If we closed every one of the U.S. embassies around the world where we have problems with human rights of the country we're in, we would close half our embassies. The fact is we can't make improvement until our embassies are open and can have our best men and women in there. But to say we can't open because of human rights in Cuba, there are a whole lot of other countries that have terrible human rights records. We're not going to close our embassies there."
MITCHELL: "Pat and your wife have been tireless advocates for this, so for you and your wife this is a significant moment."
LEAHY: "It's a wonderful day."
MITCHELL: "Thank you for sharing it with us."