WATCH: Rubio Dismantles False Cuban Embargo Narratives On Senate Floor (VIDEO)
Senator Marco Rubio (Florida) took to the Senate floor to debunk false narratives surrounding the Cuban embargo — which is being targeted by sectors supporting the communist Cuban regime — as the reason behind the recent uprising in the island nation.
The Cuban-American congressman, who has been one of the most outspoken backers of recent anti-communist demonstrations there, sought to explain the factors that led to the protests in contrast to claims by far-left lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) and the Black Lives Matter’s (BLM) leadership that blamed the American embargo for Cuba’s current economic turmoil.
Rubio maintained that the US embargo is aimed against the Cuban dictatorship, not the Cuban people.
“The White House, after having some sort of meeting or conference call, came out and said that they’re going to be looking at remittances — increasing and making it easier to get money to relatives in Cuba,” Rubio said in a speech on the Senate floor.
“The people in charge of Cuba policy at the White House — at the National Security Council and at the State Department — the people in charge of Cuba policy have long been advocates for dialogue with the regime and an economic opening,” he added, noting that “there are no American ships blockading Cuba.”
“Cuba trades with the whole world,” Rubio added.
The lawmaker noted that Cuba imports $5.3 billion every year from Spain, Italy, China, Canada, Russia, and other countries, according to him. Meanwhile, Cubans import food from the United States, such as chicken and soybeans.
“This regime trades with virtually every country on the planet… There’s only one blockade in Cuba. And it is the blockade that this regime has imposed on its people.”
Rubio also explained that there are no legal impediments for remittances coming from the US to Cuba — with the exception of a ban on using a Cuban bank in Panama run by the Cuban military, where the Cuban government requires all foreign remittances to flow.
“Here’s how it works for them. You send your relative $100. They take 10% of it. Then they take the dollars — they don’t let them deposit it — they pocket the dollars and they give them this worthless Cuban currency. [The regime keeps] the dollars so they can buy things for themselves on the global market,” Rubio said.
Cuban regime’s policy, not the US
“The blockade — to the extent that there’s something that’s preventing remittances directly to the Cuban people — it’s not US policy,” he noted. “It’s regime policy.”
Rubio also clarified that in terms of tourism, Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba — with restrictions of using any government-run facilities. But again, he noted that the Cuban regime is the one blocking all private tourism.
“You see a pattern here?” Rubio asked. “Blockade on travel. Blockade on private ownership of business. Blockade on bringing in medicine. Blockade on bringing in money. Why? Because the Cuban regime wants to control people,” he added.
“They don’t want individual Cubans to have a paycheck that they earn for themselves. They want what little you have to come from them — because if you don’t do what they tell you, they can take it from you. That’s what they want…”
Rubio continued: “They don’t want the people of Cuba to have liberty. This is all about control.”
During his speech at the Senate floor, Rubio also brought up the three conditions that the US wants to automatically lift the embargo — “free the political prisoners, free press, free and fair elections.”
“So the bottom line is this. Anyone who stands up and says, ‘there’s an embargo, there’s a blockade by the United States, and it’s cruel, and it’s causing all of these problems’ is one of two things: They don’t know what they’re talking about and they’re just parroting some talking point, or they’re liars,” the Florida senator concluded.
AOC earlier blames US for Cuba suffering
Earlier, AOC, a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, blamed the US for the economic suffering in Cuba — which she said is causing the protests.
INBOX: @AOC calls to lift the U.S. embargo on Cuba
“The embargo is absurdly cruel and, like too many other U.S. policies targeting Latin Americans, the cruelty is the point. I outright reject the Biden administration’s defense of the embargo.” pic.twitter.com/DsYmyVhG8o
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) July 16, 2021
“We are seeing Cubans rise up and protest for their rights like never before. We stand in solidarity with them, and we condemn the anti-democratic actions led by President Diaz-Canel,” she said, before turning on to the US embargo, which has been in place since 1962.
The progressive said the embargo was responsible for “the US contribution to Cuban suffering.”