The resignation of Fidel Castro is another step in the transition to a free and democratic Cuba. I have stood with the Cuban people as they have faced the difficulties of the Castro regime which has ruled since 1959, and I will continue to advocate for their liberty.

As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, it is my hope that today's development will spark democratic change in Cuba, allowing for a renaissance in U.S.-Cuban relations. In the coming days, I will be watching carefully to see if a new generation of Cuban leaders will take advantage of this historic opportunity.

I will be holding a hearing on U.S. Policy toward Latin America on March 5th with Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Tom Shannon. The hearing will focus on Cuba's transition and U.S. policy toward Cuba, among other topics. It is my hope that this hearing will help Members of Congress and people across the United States to take a closer look at what is going on in Cuba to understand if real change is occurring. This will only be the beginning. As Subcommittee Chairman, I will continue to focus on this important issue in the coming months.