Florida senators rebuke Mexican president for receiving Cuban, Venezuelan leaders

Florida senators rebuke Mexican president for receiving Cuban, Venezuelan leaders
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Florida Republican Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDefense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' Tim Scott takes in .3 million in third quarter MORE and Rick Scott on Wednesday rebuked Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who this month hosted the Cuban and Venezuelan heads of state for top-tier events in Mexico City.

In a letter to López Obrador, Rubio and Scott questioned the decision to host Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel for the country's Independence Day celebrations on Sept. 16 and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit a few days later.

"We hope your decision to receive narco-dictator Nicolás Maduro and the puppet of the Cuban dictatorship Miguel Díaz Canel is not indicative of a separation from your country's principles of respect for democracy and liberty," they wrote.

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The letter was first reported by José Díaz Briseño, Washington correspondent for Mexico's Reforma newspaper.

In their letter, the Florida senators reproached López Obrador for allowing Maduro to remain in Mexico and return home, as the Venezuelan strongman has a pending indictment from the Department of Justice for allegedly conspiring to import cocaine into the United States.

"According to the evidence compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice, Maduro supervised a cartel that trafficked illicit drugs through both our countries. As such, Maduro should have been extradited to the United States to stand trial for these charges as soon as he stepped on Mexican soil," wrote Rubio and Scott, who touted past Mexico-U.S. cooperation on persecuting drug traffickers.

"As part of that cooperation, Mexico has been supremely receptive in the extradition of other criminals involved in these crimes. The narco-dictator Nicolás Maduro should not be the exception," they added.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard had published a list of CELAC attendees before the event that did not include Maduro.

But Ebrard personally received Maduro at the Mexico City airport on Sept. 17, as the Venezuelan leader arrived to participate in the summit.

The senators also questioned López Obrador's hosting of Díaz-Canel at the Grito de Dolores, the ceremonial re-enactment of Mexico's first call to independence on Sept. 15, and the traditional military parade the next day.

At the parade, López Obrador took the unusual step of calling for an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba, saying he hoped President BidenJoe BidenMcAuliffe holds slim lead over Youngkin in Fox News poll Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE would "act magnanimously and put a permanent end to the policy of grievances toward Cuba."

But Rubio and Scott said Díaz-Canel's presence had disappointed Mexican, Central American and Cuban communities in Florida.

"For you, as a president democratically elected by the people of Mexico, to opt to legitimize this anti-democratic regime is disrespectful to the Cuban people's fight for their liberty, and it also obscures the historical symbolism of the Grito de Dolores," wrote Rubio and Scott.