Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) will announce his retirement this afternoon at a press conference at Florida International University, according to two Republican sources familiar with his decision.
I’d heard rumors but had no confirmation until now.
Update: The Congressman’s statement is below the fold.
Statement by Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart
February 11, 2010
Miami, FL – Following please find the statement made by Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) at a press conference held today at noon at Florida International University:
“Today I am announcing that I will not seek a tenth term in the United States Congress this November.
These 24 years in public office, 6 in the Florida Legislature and 18 in Congress, have constituted an extraordinary honor for me, and from the bottom of my heart I thank this community for having allowed me the privilege of fighting for the most noble of causes.
As a Senior Member of the House Rules Committee I was able to take to the floor of the House for passage the extension of the Voting Rights Act for 25 years, and the authorization for our military action in Afghanistan against those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.
Thank you for having granted me the responsibility of public office to fight for those in need, by way of the authorship of legislation such as the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act or co-authorship of the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, or the reinstitution of disability benefits and Medicaid to legal immigrants, or the inclusion of legal immigrants in the SCHIP program.
Thank you for having granted me the ability to fight for and obtain critical help for fundamental institutions in our community, such as the Ryder Trauma Center and other key programs at Jackson Memorial/UM, Centro Mater, the League Against Cancer, the United States Southern Command, Miami International Airport, and our great institutions of higher learning such at St. Thomas, Barry, Florida International, Miami-Dade College and the University of Miami.
I helped to form the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, I have defended the Rule of Law, fought injustice, and was able to contribute to the deepening of relations between the United States and extraordinary friends of this nation throughout the world.
And individually, my exceptional staff (to whom I will be eternally grateful) and I have been able to help tens of thousands of men, women and children with critically important matters. I have always known and have never forgotten that the public good is comprised of many good individual human beings.
All this and so much more we have been able to accomplish because this community has allowed me to fight for it; though I recognize, and have often felt, as in the words of Anwar el-Sadat, that “there is an external power which determines the course of human events and directs it beyond our control. It is often absurd to say one has done this or that.”
One of the achievements of which I am most proud was the codification, the writing into U.S. law, of the U.S. embargo on the Castro dictatorship, and the law’s requirement that before any U.S. President can lift the embargo, all political prisoners must be freed, all political parties, labor unions and the press must be legalized, and free multiparty elections must be scheduled in Cuba.
The reason why the world today debates the issue of Cuba (in contrast to the also condemnable internal situations in the other totalitarian States), and that the names of Cuba’s heroes and future leaders are known, like Biscet, Antunez, and so many other men and women, is because the U.S. embargo exists, and will continue to exist until those three fundamental conditions are met.
I am convinced that in the upcoming chapter of the struggle, I can be more useful to the inevitable change that will soon come to Cuba, to Cuba’s freedom, as a private citizen dedicated to helping the heroes within Cuba and to the study and propagation of the ideas and ideals of “The White Rose,” which was founded by my father, Rafael Diaz-Balart, in January, 1959.
Its important to recognize that the bipartisan team working for Cuba’s freedom from within the U.S. Congress, is fully in place and functioning more effectively than ever, led by my dear colleagues Mario, Ileana, Bob and Albio, with the admirable and continuous support of this community.
There is much important work to be done this year in Washington. The U.S. economy is dangerously close to the catastrophic precipice of uncontrollable debt. We must urgently alter Washington’s fiscal course before the American middle class as we know it is relegated to the history books.
I will leave the U.S. Congress when the term for which I was elected expires in January 2011 and return to the practice of law with a sense of duty fulfilled, with infinite love and admiration for the most generous and noble nation in history, the United States of America, and with profound gratitude to Cristina and my sons, to my mother, my three brothers and the rest of my family, to Ana Carbonell and all my wonderful staff, to my friends, supporters and my constituents, for having allowed me the honor of service by way of this important public office.
As I leave public office and begin the next phase of the fight without rest, I will continue to serve, for service is a calling, a vocation, which men and women in a free society can also exercise as private citizens, a calling which I will always fulfill.
“There is a time for every event under heaven.”
Thank you, my friends. Thank you very much.”