Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) debuted a Spanish-language Twitter account Thursday dedicated to communicating with the Cuban people, intended to break through the anti-American propaganda that dominates regime-sponsored media on the island.
Rubio, who himself is Cuban-American and represents the largest ethnic Cuban constituency in the country, has made fighting the communist tyranny 90 miles away from his home state a flagship of his political career, triggering regular animosity from the Castro regime. Under President Donald Trump – who has expanded American efforts to curb Cuba’s negative influence in the region, particularly on its colony Venezuela – Communist Party chief Raúl Castro and his deputy, President Miguel Díaz-Canel, have lost significant funding from tourism and investment jeopardized by the United States finally taking corporations to task for trafficking in property stolen during the Cuban Revolution. Instead of directing resources towards better serving the Cuban people, regime officials have continued to live lavish lifestyles while blaming Trump for widespread food shortages and the reimplementation of a rigorous ration system.
Cuba’s Minister of Interior Commerce claimed not just that the rations were necessary while appearing on state television, but that the Cuban people liked them. Another Castro official told Cubans on state television that the government was exploring replacing basic foodstuffs with ostrich and rat meat.
In a video posted to the new Twitter account, Sen. Rubio explained, in Spanish, that he believed it necessary to communicate directly with the Cuban people to dispel the myth propagated by Havana that the United States is seeking to overthrow the regime and colonize the island.
“I want to leave very clear that our interest is simply to support democracy in Cuba. The economic model, that is up to the Cuban people,” Rubio said. “It is up to the Cuban people to decide their economic destiny. Our duty is to support democracy so that you can vote directly for the people, those officials in the government, that will make those decisions.”
“The interest of this account is to communicate directly to you within Cuba to express our priorities on what we are working on and leave clear what we are trying to achieve so that you can have the freedom that all other peoples on this Hemisphere enjoy,” he concluded.
— MarcoRubioCuba (@MarcoRubioCuba1) July 11, 2019
Elsewhere on the account, Rubio explained that sanctions the Trump administration placed on government-owned corporations in Cuba “are designed to deprive these corporations of the money they desire,” which is typically invested in weapons for police forces used to suppress dissidents and in repressive intelligence personnel shipped out to Venezuela, used to torture and kill political prisoners. The Cuban regime owns the island’s tourism industry through shell companies run out of the Cuban military.
Rubio is a longtime fixture in Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, which regularly hurls epithets at him and disparages his career. A column published in 2017 referred to him as merely a member of “the most conservative wing of what we could call the extreme Cuban-American right,” but by 2019 escalated to calling the senator a “liar, manipulator, influence peddler … opportunist and intimidator.” Granma has warned Trump – who it has also called a “menacing laughingstock” and a “racist” – that Rubio is a “dangerous” voice on Latin America.
Venezuela’s propaganda apparatus, also largely controlled by the Cuban regime in exchange for free oil, has accused Rubio of outrageous conspiracies, including having an unexplained role in nationwide blackouts (actually caused by the socialist regime’s fiscal incompetence) and plotting a violent coup against dictator Nicolás Maduro. In 2017, international news reports revealed that Diosdado Cabello, a senior Venezuelan socialist official and U.S.-sanctioned multinational drug trafficker, planned to assassinate Rubio for his campaign against Latin America’s dictatorships.
Rubio’s latest initiative on social media follows weeks of attempts on the American left to reach out to Spanish-language audiences amid the ongoing 2020 presidential campaign. June’s Democratic candidate debates featured several non-Hispanic candidates attempting to repeat campaign slogans in Spanish to their audiences, not always intelligibly. None of the candidates – including Julián Castro, the only Latino Democratic candidate to take the stage – addressed the nearly century-old dictatorship in Cuba or disastrous humanitarian situation in Venezuela, which has triggered the largest migrant crisis in the history of the Western Hemisphere.
Democratic candidate surrogates have also attempted to reach out to Spanish-speaking voters. Booker and Castro have both appeared on Spanish-language television for cooking segments to appeal to voters. Last weekend, a co-chair for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) presidential campaign, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, appeared on Univisión and refused to condemn the communist regime in Cuba or its proxy in Venezuela. Cruz stated that, while she agreed with Sanders’ socialist policies, she refused to identify as a “socialist” because Hispanics “especially” associate socialism with “authoritarianism,” making her beliefs politically toxic.