Tags: Castro-Cuba | Marco Rubio | rubio | cuba | cancel | talks | obama

Rubio Wants Cuba Talks Canceled over Prisoners' Fate

Rubio Wants Cuba Talks Canceled over Prisoners' Fate
(Michael Reynolds/EPA/Landov)

Tuesday, 06 January 2015 11:15 AM

Senator Marco Rubio, a leading opponent of President Barack Obama's restoration of ties to Cuba, called on the administration on Tuesday to cancel upcoming talks with Havana at least until dozens of detainees are released.

U.S. officials said Cuba had agreed to free 53 people Washington considers political prisoners as part of a prisoner exchange and deal to re-start long-broken ties announced on Dec. 17.

The White House has steadfastly refused to release the names of the 53, and a State Department spokeswoman said on Monday she could not publicly confirm that even one of the prisoners had been released.

The fate of the detainees has provided ammunition for congressional critics of Obama's policy shift. Rubio and others have said they will seek to slow or block moves toward improved ties with Havana.

Lawmakers are expected to hold hearings on the new Cuba policy in the first weeks of the new Congress, which was sworn in on Tuesday.

Rubio said Roberta Jacobson, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, should cancel a reported trip to Havana later this month to discuss normalizing relations at least until the 53 are released.

"Almost three weeks after your Cuba announcement, there is absolutely no reason why any of these individuals should be in prison or the targets of repression - or for their identities, conditions and whereabouts to remain such closely held secrets," Rubio said in a letter to Obama dated Jan. 6.

Several mostly Republican members of Congress, led by Rubio and other Cuban-American lawmakers, have expressed deep concerns about Obama's decision to ditch a half-century of U.S. isolation of Cuba.

They argue that Obama's policy shift provides legitimacy - and money - to the island nation's Communist government even as it continues to violate the human rights of its people.

 

© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


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Senator Marco Rubio, a leading opponent of President Barack Obama's restoration of ties to Cuba, called on the administration on Tuesday to cancel upcoming talks with Havana at least until dozens of detainees are released. U.S. officials said Cuba had agreed to free 53...
rubio, cuba, cancel, talks, obama
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2015-15-06
Tuesday, 06 January 2015 11:15 AM
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