Rubio: Cuba deal a 'terrible trade off'

Rubio: Cuba deal a 'terrible trade off'
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Sen. Rubio (R-Fla.) criticized President Obama for restoring relations with Cuba after 50 years without extracting democratic reforms from the Castro regime.

The U.S. is "going to bestow upon the Cuban government a strong level of legitimacy … And in exchange for all that the only thing the Cubans agreed to do was to release 53 political prisoners whose names, by the way, have yet to be disclosed," Rubio said in an interview on "The Cats Roundtable," host John Catsimatidis's Sunday radio show on New York AM 970.

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Last month, the Cuban government freed American aid worker Alan Gross in an exchange involving three Cuban prisoners held in the United States. The Castro regime also pledged to release 53 political prisoners, which drew the ire of Rubio.

"And today there are reports that the people who are being released are both at the end of their prison terms and being sternly warned that if they take up the cause of democracy they’ll be re-arrested,” he added.

The son of Cuban immigrants who fled the island in the 1950s as Fidel Castro rose to power, Rubio emphasized that his sole interest is "for democracy to return to Cuba."

"Cubans don't have access to Twitter or Instagram or Facebook unless you have a government account, and doing everything we can to open that up is something I've focused on quite a bit."

When asked about the possibility of running for president in 2016, the Florida Republican danced around the question, saying "no announcement today."

He said if he decides the White House is the best place to fulfill his middle class agenda, he'll run for president. "And if I decide the best place to achieve it is in the Senate, then I will run for reelection. But that's a decision I haven't made yet, but in the process of trying to make."