Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale GOP urges Trump not to tank defense bill over tech fight Pressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal MORE (R-Fla.) on Saturday slammed President Obama’s recent overtures towards Cuba as absurd given the Castro regime’s long-term support of terrorism.
Rubio’s criticisms come as Obama meets Cuban leader Raúl Castro in a landmark encounter at the seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama. Rubio, whose parents are Cuban, said the president was letting his guard down on the danger Havana presents to American interests.
“It’s ridiculous,” Rubio argued of the Obama administration’s debate over removing Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, in an interview with Breitbart.
“It doesn’t make sense,” he added. “I don’t see how they can rationalize taking them off the list, other than the president’s desire to achieve a legacy issue that he’s the one that opened up Cuba and changed fifty years of policy.”
Rubio cited Cuba’s spying and aid of known terrorist groups as proof of Obama’s missteps. The Castro regime’s actions, he charged, displayed clear hostility towards the U.S.
“This is the country that is the third most active espionage force in America today, operating against us, [and also has] military officials who have been indicted in federal court for the murder of U.S. citizens over international waters,” Rubio said.
“They continue to provide shelter and material support for terrorist groups like the FARC in Colombia and others,” the Florida lawmaker added.
President Obama notably shook hands with Castro on Friday in Panama. The two leaders are scheduled to meet Saturday and continue repairing decades of chilly relations between their respective nations.
The State Department on Thursday completed its review of Cuba’s place on its list of state sponsors of terror. President Obama will review its findings and decide whether that status is still justified.
State formally recommended Obama remove Cuba from its list Wednesday evening. Its decision shows the agency believes Cuba has not supported terrorists at any time during the last six months.
Rubio is a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, he confirmed Monday in Miami.