Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOn The Money: Dems set Tuesday vote on Trump's emergency declaration | Most Republicans expected to back Trump | Senate plots to avoid fall shutdown drama | Powell heading before Congress Brown, Rubio trade barbs over ‘dignity of work’ as Brown mulls presidential bid The Hill's Morning Report — Emergency declaration to test GOP loyalty to Trump MORE (R-Fla.) on Monday warned that the Obama administration is overlooking human rights violations in Cuba in its effort to reestablish relations with Havana.


“As the next round of U.S.-Cuba normalization talks begins later this week, U.S. officials are so desperate to open a U.S. embassy in Havana, that they’re forging ahead despite a new wave of repression that has jailed over 200 Cuban democracy activists in the past two weeks,” Rubio said in a statement.

Rubio, a Cuban-American and potential 2016 presidential contender, and Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezActing Defense chief calls Graham an 'ally' after tense exchange William Barr is right man for the times This week: Trump delivers State of the Union amid wall fight MORE (D-N.J.) have been vocal opponents of President Obama’s decision to ease travel and trade restrictions with the island nation.

Rubio said before the administration makes “more concessions” to the Cuban government it must “insist that any future negotiations place democracy, human rights, free expression and the free will of the Cuban people to choose their own leaders through multi-party elections as the highest priority."

His comments come ahead of a scheduled meeting between Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, and a Cuban delegation in Washington on Friday. The State Department said last week those talks will center on reopening embassies and continuing discussions started last month in Havana.

As part of the shift in relations, announced earlier this year, the Cuban government agreed to release 53 activists who were being detained. Tom Malinowski, the State Department’s senior human rights official, told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month that the administration is pursuing better relations with eyes wide open.

“We agree that the release of these political prisoners does not of itself change anything in Cuba," he said in his prepared remarks. “Cuba remains a one-party state that tries to stifle virtually all political, cultural and economic activity that it does not control.”