MIAMI — Hillary Rodham Clinton will ask Congress on Friday to seize what she calls a "decisive moment" and lift the five-decade-old trade embargo against Cuba.

The Democratic front runner was speaking Friday in South Florida, home to many Cuban-Americans. For years, it has been the base of powerful anti-Castro sentiment that has made the embargo untouchable, especially for Republicans, like those running Congress and running to oppose her for president in 2016.

"We have arrived at a decisive moment. The Cuban people have waited long enough for progress to come," Clinton will say, according to excerpts from her upcoming speech released by her presidential campaign.

"Even many Republicans on Capitol Hill are starting to recognize the urgency of moving forward. It’s time for their leaders to either get on board or get out of the way."

Ahead of the speech, the Clinton campaign blasted former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, probably the Republicans Clinton worries about most, for clinging to what Clinton calls a failed policy of isolating communist Cuba.
Both Bush and Rubio have said the embargo gives the United States leverage against an abusive regime, and criticized as naive efforts to remake the U.S.-Cuba relationship.

Clinton strongly supports President Obama's second-term overture to Cuba, which has seen restored diplomatic ties and the easing of some travel restrictions. The embargo, however, would require congressional action to lift — something unlikely to happen at least until after the 2016 election.

"The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all. We should replace it with a smarter approach," Clinton will say, according to the excerpts. She wants outreach to the Cuban private sector, among other things, because she believes that engagement and commerce will put pressure on the Castro regime. Obama has said that with the embargo in place, the regime has an easy scapegoat for Cuba's economic woes.

"Today I am calling on Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell to step up and answer the pleas of the Cuban people," Clinton will say in the 11 a.m. address at Florida International University.

"By large majorities, they want a closer relationship with America. They want to buy our goods, read our books, surf our Web, and learn from our people. They want to bring their country into the 21st century. That is the road toward democracy and dignity. We should walk it together."