By Jeremy Herb - 05/29/12 01:41 PM EDT
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is making his first trip to Cuba on Tuesday to tour the U.S. base and prison at Guantánamo Bay.
Rubio is headed to Guantánamo for a one-day visit that he’s taking as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, spokesman Alex Conant said.
“This visit will allow Sen. Rubio an opportunity to better understand the role Guantánamo Bay plays in U.S. detention operations, and examine how the military commission process for trying the terrorists housed there is proceeding,” Conant said in an email.
Rubio, whose parents emigrated from Cuba in 1956, is not leaving the military base during his trip.
Rubio, considered a potential vice presidential pick for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, will also tour the building where Guantánamo detainees are held.
Rubio in 2011 co-sponsored legislation to keep the Guantánamo prison open. Republicans have criticized President Obama’s call, made at the start of his term, to close the detention facility.
The legislation directed the Pentagon to continue to use Guantánamo for current and future terrorists, and placed restrictions on transferring detainees to other countries and building a replacement facility in the United States.