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VIDEO: Rubio, Colleagues Discuss Dangers of Normalizing Relations with Castro Regime at Miami Field Hearing

Jan 16, 2018 | Press Releases

Miami, FL –U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today joined U.S. Representatives Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Ted Yoho (R-FL) at a field briefing entitled “The Obama Rapprochement with the Castro Regime: The Anatomy of a Policy Failure.” The hearing explored the dangers of normalizing relations with Cuba, and included regarding the brutality of the oppressive Castro regime and its support of Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.
Last week, Rubio chaired a Senate Foreign Relations hearing and pressed the State Department on its response to the attacks on U.S. Diplomats in Cuba. Rubio also asserted that there is no way sophisticated attacks targeting American government officials in Havana could occur without the Cuban government at least knowing about it.
A partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below:
Rubio: U.S. policy towards Cuba should do two things: it should further our national interests and it should further our values. And the Obama opening to Cuba did neither. It is not in our national interest to have an anti-Israeli, anti-American, pro-Iranian, and … pro-Putin dictatorial regime 90 miles from our shores. The opening to Cuba did absolutely nothing to help transition to a different type of government, much less a democratic one. On the contrary, it created the space for at least a symbolic transition that the Cuban government will try to appear to be made to look normal when, in fact,  it is not. And the other thing, it did nothing to further our values. None of the changes, none of the rewards given to the Castro regime were conditioned by anything that had to do with democracy, human rights.
In fact, I believe the opening to Cuba required the Obama Administration to be silent or look the other way on a number of human rights issues in order to not imperil their great deal as they saw it. So I was pleased, along with many people on this dais today including Congressman Diaz-Balart, to be a part of President Trump’s new approach to Cuba, which does two things I think are really important. Number one, is it puts independent Cubans in a privileged position vis-à-vis the government. Americans that now go to Cuba will be able to do business with them, but not with the Cuban military. Which is the second thing that it does and that is it prevents the Cuban military through its military-owned firms, to create a permanent stranglehold on the Cuban economy, which they would then benefit not just personally, but to strengthen their grip on power. So this is a timely and important hearing.  
And just close by this: think about what our hemisphere would look like today if there wasn’t a Castro regime. There would be no Maduro in Venezuela and there would not be 24 Americans severely injured as a result of some sort of attack while stationed in Havana.