Tags: Marco Rubio | Marco Rubio | John Kerry | Cuba | ambassador | block

Sen. Rubio to Kerry: I'll Block US Ambassador to Cuba Nominees

By    |   Monday, 01 Jun 2015 06:42 PM

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican candidate for president, said Monday he would block nominees for the U.S. ambassador to Cuba unless the Obama administration does more to improve the political and economic situation on the island nation.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Rubio said he is "very concerned" about the administration's handling of the renewed ties between the United States and Cuba.

Rubio was born in Miami but his parents emigrated from Cuba in 1956.

"Despite more than five months of discussions with the Cuban government, I am very concerned about the lack of political reforms, and progress on human rights; the continued harboring of known terrorists and other fugitives from U.S. justice; the outstanding American property claims and judgments against the Cuban government; and the limitations that continue to be placed on American diplomats working in Havana," Rubio wrote. "By conditioning any normalization of relations with Cuba on these topics and other areas, the U.S. can leverage the prospect of improved bilateral relations to obtain tangible benefits for both the American and Cuban peoples.

"It is important for the United States to continue being a beacon of freedom for the Cuban people," Rubio added. "I intend to work with my colleagues to block the Administration's efforts to pursue diplomatic relations with Cuba and name an Ambassador to Havana until substantive progress is made on these important issues."

Rubio wants four issues addressed before nominees for the position of U.S. ambassador to Cuba are named and brought in front of Congress.

"The first relates to political reforms and human rights," Rubio wrote. "Secondly, I urge you to make central to the current talks the repatriation of known terrorists and other fugitives from U.S. justice. The FBI believes there are more than 70 fugitives from justice that are being provided safe-harbor by the Castro regime.

"Third, there are billions of dollars of outstanding American property claims against the Cuban government.

"Finally, there are currently many limitations placed on U.S. diplomats stationed in the U.S. Interest Section in Havana. … If we expect our diplomats to be the emissaries of democracy, they must have the freedom to travel the island and meet with pro-democracy groups."

Rubio has staunchly opposed the renewed diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Cuba, a plan Obama announced in December.

In his letter, Rubio concluded by saying, "I hope to see a free and democratic Cuba, but that means we must confront the authoritarian Castro regime that suppresses its own people, not acquiesce to their demands."

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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican candidate for president, said Monday he would block nominees for the U.S. ambassador to Cuba unless the Obama administration does more to improve the political and economic situation on the island nation.
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Monday, 01 Jun 2015 06:42 PM
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