Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is spending the day at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. The trip marks the first time Rubio has been in Cuba, a country his parents left in 1956.
In a press conference upon his return to Miami, Rubio deflected many questions about the vice presidency.
“I’m a member of the Intelligence Committee. There’s a lot of places I still need to visit and get up to speed,” he said, according to The Hill.
“I’ve only been in the Senate for a year and a half, and there’s a lot of things I still need to do in order to be up to speed with some of my colleagues that I serve with.”
Rubio said the trip was first planned for last August but was postponed when his mother became ill.
Guantánamo base is the site of the military trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. The military tribunal judging Mohammed will hold its next hearing in June.
I think it’s important for us not to forget who’s detained in Guantánamo,” Rubio said. “These are enemies of the United States who have been actively engaged in attacks against the homeland and abroad, many of whom are directly responsible for the death and suffering of thousands of Americans.”
Rubio’s parents fled Cuba in 1956 in the years just before Fidel Castro took full control of the country. Of course, he did not get to visit Cuban territory beyond the U.S. naval base, and said he had little time to reflect on the island that his parents left.
“Certainly it was touching to be able to fly over the island from a distance and see it and know that it’s the land that saw your parents and your grandparents born,” Rubio said. “And it’s a place I hope to visit one day soon — a free Cuba, one where the people of Cuba can choose their own leaders and choose their own future.”
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