Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is not a quiet man. The gregarious Florida Republican, known for sudden eruptions of laughter and dramatic gesticulations, is hard to miss in a crowd. But when it comes to legislating, the seven-term lawmaker blends in, working methodically, usually behind the scenes, to put his stamp on policy.
That's how the son of Cuban exiles has become one of the Obama administration's biggest obstacles to normalizing relations with the communist nation 90 miles south of Florida. President Barack Obama's Cuba initiative hits close to home for the Miami lawmaker — his storied political family was forced to abandon the island after Fidel Castro's 1959 takeover.