Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, the first member of the U.S. Senate to publicly call for Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to step down, said today's events in Cairo were "monumental."
"President Mubarak rightly honored the Egyptian people’s calls for freedom," said Nelson, D-Fla., a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "All nations must now support an orderly, peaceful transition to democracy."
"We hope the first steps of the new government will be to guarantee free and fair elections as soon as possible, while also keeping the peace with all of Egypt’s neighbors, including Israel," Nelson saidn in an e-mailed statement.
In a Feb. 1 interview with FOX News, Nelson said Mubarak should step down "because the people are demanding it."
Florida's junior senator, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., didn't mention Cuba by name, but he alluded to notion that perhaps the events in Egypt could be replicated "in our own hemisphere."
"This is an historic moment for Egypt and the Middle East," said Rubio, whose parents came to the U.S. from Cuba as refugees. "For perhaps the first time in its long history, Egypt’s government has listened to and heeded its people’s legitimate demands for greater freedoms and an end to corruption. This is an opportunity for the Egyptian people to chart a new, more hopeful and democratic future. Today’s events should hearten those struggling for greater freedom and respect for human rights in our own Hemisphere."
"Egypt is a key US partner and we must give our full support to ensure an irreversible and nonviolent transition to genuine democracy. It is imperative that a new Egypt continues to honor its commitment to regional peace and security in the Middle East, especially to its neighbor Israel."