Nov 16 2021
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar (R-FL) and fellow Republican legislators in holding a press conference following yet another round of protests in Cuba against the Communist Castro/Díaz-Canel regime. Broadcast quality video in both English and Spanish are available here. A transcript of Rubio’s remarks from Capitol Hill are below.
Rubio: Thank you, Congresswoman Salazar, for calling this, and all of you for being here today.
I think what's most interesting [is that] this is a movement inside Cuba that's led by young intellectuals [and] artists. These are not people that were political activists. It's a very young generation who's demanding a better life, and the entire power of the regime ? the military, the party apparatus, the government, everything ?the entire power of that regime was unleashed to prevent people from walking in the street and shouting slogans. Think about that for a moment.
They unwittingly, in so doing, did two things. The first is they created a powerful new symbol of resistance. I think this only adds to the movement. They actually gave, for a week and a half, free publicity to artists and intellectuals that may not have been widely-known throughout the island as leaders of this movement, that now are well-known within the island.
The second thing is they revealed who they really are. I, for the life of me, don't understand how any of these countries that continue to defend Cuba in international forums can do so. But in the way they reacted towards this, from the mobs that they unleashed on people's homes, the flags covering windows, they reveal who they are. They proved those protesting against them correct.
And so I hope this administration will use the power and the influence of this government that we have at every international forum to ask countries around the world, "How can you continue to align with this? How can you continue to support and defend this regime, this government, and its actions?"
Now, it's already been mentioned about the Internet. Look, the technology to do it exists. It's not easy, but it can be done, especially in key moments in which we know the Internet's going to be shut down. It's a matter of will and desire.
And I don't expect a lot, frankly, when the person in charge of the Cuba portfolio in the State Department just a year and a half ago was organizing trips for members of Congress to meet with the regime. I don't expect a lot when the people at the National Security Council who are involved in the Cuba portfolio are people who are deeply involved in negotiating a failed deal with the regime.
The fact of the matter is, the people in charge of this on an hourly basis in this administration are not on the side of what we’re asking for. What they want is an understanding and an agreement with this evil regime. So I’m not expecting a lot, unless the President himself makes it a priority, which so far he has not.