Former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro passed away on Thursday. His death was celebrated by many American Cubans, many of whom had been separated from their families and faced tragedy as a result of his rule.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a descendant from Cuban immigrants himself, spoke about the events that had transpired with anchorwoman Dana Bash on a Sunday segment of CNN’S “State of the Union.”
President Obama headed recent efforts to restore diplomatic relations between America and Cuba to open up the country for trade and diplomacy, symbolized by the reopening of the Cuban embassy. Rubio said that he trusted president-elect Donald Trump to “roll back” that progress:
Rubio, who ran for president in the Republican primary, was one of Trump’s largest critics during the election. “The election is over and now it comes time to govern. We’re going to give him every chance to be successful,” he declared.
Rubio was also disappointed with the president, saying that Obama’s condolences to Castro’s family were “pathetic.” Despite the pope doing the same, and Rubio being a practicing Catholic, the senator made a distinction between his religious duties and his political beliefs:
President Obama visited Cuba in March, making him the first United States president to have made such a trip in 88 years. In August, the first U.S. flight to Cuba in 55 years took off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Obama has called on Congress to lift the Cuban embargo. Though critics of the president’s attempts to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba are largely partisan, there were five notable Republican members of Congress in 2014 who shared a similar desire to lift U.S. sanctions on the country: Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
The congressmen verbalized their support for the opening up of the country on the basis of sovereignty, the free movement of people and free markets.