Marco Rubio Slams President Obama Over Castro Statement

By Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
November 27, 2016 Updated: November 27, 2016

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio slammed President Barack Obama following the death of longtime communist dictator Fidel Castro, who ruled over Cuba for decades.

“President Obama issued a pathetic statement on death of dictator #FidelCastro with no mention of thousands he killed & imprisoned. #Cuba,” Rubio tweeted.

Obama, in a statement, had said that “history will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.” He added, “Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people.”

Other prominent Republicans, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, criticized Obama for not mentioning the Castro regime’s human rights abuses.

Rubio, meanwhile, added that changes in relations with Cuba must be tied to reforms on the communist island such as free elections and freedom of the press.

The Florida Republican said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that Castro’s death will not by itself usher in major democratic changes. Rubio says current Cuban President Raul Castro is dedicated to protecting the communist system created largely by his brother.

Rubio, who is Cuban-American, has opposed much of the thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations pushed by President Barack Obama. But Rubio also says he’s not against all such reforms, only those in which the U.S. or the Cuban people get little in return.

Rubio says he believes President-elect Donald Trump will closely re-examine U.S.-Cuba relations once he takes office in January.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.