Marco Rubio Stands Firm Against Obama’s Cuba Policy

AP Photo
AP Photo

You can disagree with him all you’d like on immigration reform, but Florida Senator Marco Rubio is correct in saying that this easing of sanctions and normalizing of relations with the murderous Castro regime in Cuba will not end the human rights atrocities that have been going on in that country since Fidel Castro first took over.

After taking the gavel at his new post as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues, Rubio took the State Department to task on the Obama administration’s push to make nice with the Castro brothers in Cuba.

Rubio squared off in his committee hearing meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, Roberta S. Jacobson, who said that the Obama administration was moving forward with “eyes wide open” with Cuba.

“This administration is under no illusions about the continued barriers to internationally recognized freedoms that remain for the Cuban people, nor are we under illusions about the nature of the Cuban government,” said Jacobson, who led the U.S. delegation in last month’s talks in Havana. “When we sat down with our counterparts in Havana, we were clear that our governments have both shared interests and sharp differences.”

The Miami Herald reported this:

In a back-and-forth with Jacobson, Rubio pressed her for an answer.

Rubio: “Can you say … that under no circumstances will the United States ever agree to limit the ability of our personnel to interact with democracy activists … as a condition of expanding our embassy operation?”

“I don’t know if that is a real condition on their part,” said Jacobson, indicating that Vidal’s remarks may have been more for domestic consumption in Cuba than the Cuban negotiating position.

But Jacobson said the United States wanted to have the “greatest possible ability” to interact with people on the island.

Rubio: So we will never agree to limit our personnel?

Jacobson: “We’re going to keep pushing to get those restrictions lifted as part of getting an embassy…”

Rubio cut her off, saying, “Secretary Jacobson, this is a pretty straightforward question.” Asked the question again, Jacobson said that she “can’t imagine that we would go to the next stage of our diplomatic relationship with an agreement not to see democracy activists, no.”

Rubio scored big foreign relations points today.