Rubio: 'Nothing Is Going to Change in Cuba'

By Susan Jones | August 14, 2015 | 10:02am EDT
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta, Ga. on Aug. 7, 2015. (AP File Photo)

( - Both Iran and Cuba both have received "significant concessions" from President Obama, who is getting "insufficient promises" in return, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told Fox News Thursday night.

"The Cubans have basically pocketed all of these concessions that the president has made, but they have been very frank: Nothing is going to change in Cuba."

Rubio spoke the night before Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Havanna to raise the American flag over the newly opened U.S. embassy. It's the first time a U.S. secretary of state has visited the communist nation since 1945.

Just days before the historic event, Cuban authorities broke up a protest by 90 Cuban dissidents, who are demanding greater freedom from their repressive government. And as reported, none of the dissidents will be allowed to attend Friday's flag-raising ceremony, which is another sore point for Rubio.

On Thursday, Fidel Castro, the former Cuban dictator, wrote that the United States owes Cuba money "numerous millions of dollars" for damages caused by the U.S. trade embargo.

"Obviously, it's ridiculous talk," Rubio said Thursday night. "But this is the kind of thing that they're doing. It's a subliminal method they're sending to their people."

According to Rubio, it's telling that Castro's request for millions of dollars was published in Granma, Cuba's official government newspaper.

"That wasn't a message to Americans, that was a message to the Cubans," Rubio said. "And the message is, I know you're going to have an American flag at this new embassy, I know you're going to see more Americans travelers coming here. But we're still anti-American. Don't get your hopes up. Nothing is going to change in Cuba."

On Friday morning, around the same time Kerry arrived in Cuba, Rubio told a foreign policy gathering in New York that President Obama "has been quick to deal with the oppressors, but slow to deal with the oppressed."

A short time later, Rubio told Fox News, "We are going to open up to Cuba, but Cuba's not going to open up to us... It's a one sided deal. and that's why it's such a bad idea."

Rubio said he would enforce the Cuban Democracy Act, passed by Congress in the 1990s, that requires "reciprocal changes on the part of the Cubans."

He also said he would not "diplomatically recognize an illegitimate government."

"We shouldn't have diplomatic relations with anti-American, communist dictatorship that oppresses its own people, harbors fugitives of American justice, including a cop-killer from New Jersey, and gives the Russians and the Chinese a base of operations to spy electronically against us."

The Obama administration announced in December that it was normalizing relations with Cuba. President Obama said he would no longer cling to a policy that was not working.

"I believe that we can do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values through engagement," he said last December. "After all, these 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked. It’s time for a new approach."


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