NY Times Quotes Communist Propaganda to Attack Rubio as Cuba’s ‘Least Favorite Son’

Marco Rubio responds to Rand Paul Twitter fight over Cuba
Austin, TX

Last month, the New York Times was thoroughly ridiculed for hit pieces on Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) — screeching over the Senator receiving four traffic citations in eighteen years and then trying to make the Rubio family’s fishing boat sound like a luxury yacht.

Now, “All the News That’s Fit to Print” apparently includs the far-from-shocking revelation that the state-controlled media in communist Cuba does not really like Rubio.

In an article originally titled, “Little Affinity for Marco Rubio in Cuba Despite Family Roots” (later changed to “Marco Rubio Is Hardly a Hero in Cuba. He Likes That.” without explanation), Times reporter Jason Horowitz writes that “the first Cuban-American to have a plausible chance to become president of the United States is the island’s least favorite son.”

Horowitz traveled to Cuba and interviewed several Cubans. To his credit, in the nearly 1,700 word article, he repeatedly acknowledges that freedom of speech and the press are virtually nonexistent in Cuba, and that the communist government has been openly critical of Rubio:

  • Rubio is described as a “Florida Republican who has been identified in the state-controlled newspaper here as a ‘representative in the Senate of the Cuban-American terrorist mafia;'”
  • Graffiti and signs in the area mentioned include a road sign that said “Blockade: The Worst Genocide in History,” and an image of a noose, and “Viva Fidel y Raúl” scrawled on the side of a shack;
  • “Cuban government officials claim disinterest when asked about American presidential candidates, but Mr. Rubio clearly strikes a nerve, prompting eye rolling, dramatic rocking-chair rocking and unkind comments”;
  • Rubio has not had any contact with his second cousins still in Cuba except for when they “tried to reach out in a brief moment when they had access to Facebook;”
  • “Mr. Rubio said that he believed that many people in Cuba were scared to utter anything other than the party line, and that such anger was to be expected in a country dominated by government-controlled media.”
  • Horowitz notes the “uniformity of opinion” among the Cubans he interviews and then admits that it “may owe something to Granma, an eight-page state-controlled tabloid that is the country’s leading paper.”

Horowitz also attempts to cast Rubio as a liar for calling himself the “son of exiles,” even though Rubio’s parents fled Cuba in 1956, and returned to the island for a few brief visits, before Fidel Castro took control in 1959. What Horowitz misses — and to be fair, was beyond the comprehension of the original Washington Post report on this issue — is that the term “exile” is far broader than just those who fled Castro.

The definition of an “exile” is “a person banished from his or her native land,” or “anyone separated from his or her country or home voluntarily or by force of circumstances.” President Fulgencio Batista was a tyrant in his own right, and Cuba went through years of civil unrest and violent crackdowns by government forces until Castro seized power. Rubio’s parents were far from the only ones to leave Cuba to get out from under Batista’s brutal thumb.

Sadly for the Cuban people, they traded one dictator, Batista, for a much worse one in Castro. It would not matter if the Rubios had originally left Cuba to just go on vacation in Florida, the simple fact is they had not been able to return to their native land, the very definition of “exile.” 

For Cubans in South Florida, their status of being “exiles” is deeply felt, especially among the older generations who still remember their time in Cuba, or who remember being a young child growing up around many relatives mourning the loss of their home. The precise date someone’s family left Cuba is not the crucial part; what matters is that they could not return.

The Times article can be viewed as an attack on Rubio’s Cuban heritage, suggesting that since the people from the country of his parents’ birth have rejected him, he shouldn’t “count” as a minority. In a presidential election where the GOP primary includes two Cuban Senators, a black neurosurgeon, an Indian Governor, and a female former CEO of a technology company, and all the Democrats have are a few old white people, one can see how this might happen. We have already seen a reporter demand that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “say something in Spanish” on demand, as if he were a dog performing a trick, and the Washington Post writing that “there’s not much Indian left” in Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA).

The reality, of course, is much simpler. After decades of brutal oppression under the Castro regime and their strict control over the media, Cubans who have never met Rubio and only heard the communist propaganda version of the story, are not his biggest fans. Quelle surprise!

Rubio got a good laugh at the Times’ previous sloppy attempts to attack him, especially when “#RubioCrimeSpree” started trending on Twitter. A source close to the Rubio campaign told Breitbart News last month that they raised over $200,000 in the immediate aftermath of that Times story.

The Senator seems to be taking this story in stride as well, tweeting, “NYT follows up traffic tix & ‘luxury speedboat’ stories with expose of Castro regime’s propaganda on me. #nicetry” on Monday morning.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.