“The Obama administration should highlight these latest instances of Cuban suffering at the hands of the regime and also come to grips with the lack of progress achieved by its pro-engagement policy,” Rubio said in a statement released Tuesday. “It could not have envisioned ending its first term with an American humanitarian in frail health in a Cuban dungeon and a more repressive Cuban regime driving the Cuban people to desperate acts like these hunger strikes.”

Rubio said he was “deeply concerned” about the health of those participating in the hunger strikes, especially for pro-democracy leaders Jorge Luís García Pérez Antúnez and Martha Beatriz Roque.

“The Castro regime relishes in the suffering of the Cuban people, especially pro-democracy leaders who threaten their grip on power,” Rubio said. “They would love nothing more than to see these hunger strikes end in death. The international community, with the United States at the forefront, must speak out and draw attention to the suffering of the Cuban people.”

Rubio's parents immigrated to the United State from Cuba shortly before Fidel Castro's communist revolution.