Fighting for Florida

Marco Rubio Uses Senate Platform To Call Attention To Human Trafficking

By Alex Leary

St. Petersburg Times


WASHINGTON - In Immokalee, a dozen Hispanics spent long days in the fields then were forced to sleep in a rental truck. In Boca Raton, Filipino workers pulled grueling shifts at country clubs then returned home as captives, fed rotten chicken and denied medical attention.
On Saturday morning, one week after the untimely death of Ladies In White leader Laura Pollan, Senator Rubio spoke to democracy activists in Cuba by telephone from the Cuban Democratic Directorate in Miami. During the phone call, the Senator spoke with Berta Soler, the new leader of the Ladies in White, and Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, "Antunez," a former political prisoner. In speaking with them, Rubio reaffirmed his commitment to support the activists' calls for democracy and the defense of human rights in Cuba.

"I am saddened by the devastating news of Laura Pollan's death. She was a truly courageous leader who fought hard for the freedom of all Cubans. My prayers and condolences go out to her family, friends and the Cuban people whose freedom she devoted her life to. 

"My unwavering support remains firmly with the Cuban people who continue their fight for freedom and dignity. Laura Pollan will be deeply missed in this struggle, but her memory will always live on."

Later tonight, the Senate is scheduled to vote on free trade pacts with three countries, Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. Just this morning the Sun Sentinel reported that Florida could gain as many as 11,685 jobs in the next year with the possibility of more when the trade pact is signed.
Last month, Senator Rubio spoke at the Jesse Helms Center on America's Role in the World. During his speech, Senator Rubio echoed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's warnings that more cuts made to our national defense would be "devastating." Yesterday, Secretary Panetta spoke at the Wilson Center and again repeated his concerns about potential cuts saying there would be "catastrophic damage" if the Super Committee does not come up with deficit reduction deals.
Last Thursday we arrived in Tripoli to the promise of a free Libya. We saw a city that is surprisingly secure and orderly. We visited al-Jdeida prison and spoke freely with detainees - a testament to the commitment of the Transitional National Council (TNC) to democracy, transparency and the rule of law. At the end of the day, we walked through Martyrs' Square, where Libyans cheered and thanked America and our NATO allies.
In June, this paper accused me of putting "the financial interests of the nation's biggest banks before small retailers and consumers" when I voted to delay an onerous regulation that I feared would increase banking fees and hit the wallets of Americans who are already struggling in this economy.