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ICYMI: Rubio Rebukes Call to Appease Latin American Dictators

Aug 8, 2023 | Press Releases

Letter to the Editor: We Won’t Win the Western Hemisphere by Repeating Past Mistakes

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

August 6, 2023

Miami Herald Print Edition

In their Aug. 1 opinion, “We can play a smarter game in Latin America and the Caribbean,” John Feeley and Scott Hamilton attack me and other Florida lawmakers for holding dictators and narco-terrorists accountable. They call our efforts “anti-strategic” and instead promote the same strategy Democrats have advanced since the Obama era: grant concessions and hope for change.

But regular diplomatic visits will not change a criminal regime’s selfish calculations––especially when those visits come from ambassadors unfit for the job. The last 20 years of “engagement” with China enabled Beijing’s threatening rise and weakened the United States. I will never apologize for withholding resources or legitimacy from the regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to avoid repeating that mistake.

If Feeley and Hamilton want productive diplomacy, they should lecture President Biden for nominating unqualified ambassadors and alienating regional allies. This White House never misses a chance to criticize relatively pro-U.S. leaders like those in Ecuador, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

That is the type of ideological behavior that “handicaps” our efforts abroad, so the next time these retired diplomats target me, my colleagues, and what they call the “moneyed exile communities” of South Florida, they should bring more accurate arguments.