Rubio Delivers Speech Denouncing Cuba’s Influence, Venezuela’s Repressive Government

During a Senate floor speech on Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) used his time before his colleagues to call their attention to current protests in Venezuela and what protesters, who are mostly students, have been trying to accomplish.

Rubio’s speech started as a way to issue a reply to a report issued by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). The democrat’s report was delivered after he returned from a trip to Cuba. According to Sen. Rubio, Harkin’s views on the lives of common Cubans are not accurate, mostly because his accounts seem to gloss over the real facts, leaving the tyrannical and repressive nature of the Cuban government out of the picture.

According to Rubio, Cubans flee their home country out of fear of repression and in hopes of finding a place where they can work and where they are free to associate with others peacefully precisely because they do not have those experiences where they come from. Repression, Rubio stated during his speech, is what the Cuban government is really good at.

The junior senator from Florida linked the repressive Cuban regime to what is currently taking place in Venezuela by showing slides of important characters in the still unfolding protest stories taking place all over Venezuela. He took the time to explain how both nations work together to oppress their people and keep them from being exposed to foreign ideas. Freedom of speech is what allows Americans to use their voice to defend the Cuban regime publicly without fearing punishment, but for a common Cuban living on Cuban soil, being outspoken against the government is a privilege they often pay too high of a price for.

Rubio explained that the armed civilians who support the government have been mostly responsible for many of the deaths being reported during the Venezuelan protests. The government arms these civilian groups to have them fight those who oppose the regime, which is a model that is also used by Cubans.

In Venezuela, protesters get hit with water cannons for protesting the government peacefully. Pro-government forces use their weaponry to intimidate and injure students participating in anti-government demonstrations because that’s the model they have learned from Cuba. According to Rubio, Venezuela gives Cuba inexpensive oil in exchange for support.

Cuba’s allies include the North Korean regime, known to commit gross human rights abuses, the former Libya dictator, Syria and Russia. Its influence in Latin America can be seen in how the Venezuelan government is dealing with protests. During a dramatic portion of his speech, Rubio outlined how Venezuela followed certain models of repression known to have been put to use in Cuba first:

“What’s the first thing the Venezuelan government did when these broke out? They cut off access to Twitter and Facebook and the Internet. They ran CNN out of there. They closed down the only Colombian station. Years before, they had closed down all the independent media outlets that criticized the government. Where did they learn that from? From Cuba. And yet we have to listen to what a paradise Cuba is. Well, I wonder how come I never read about boatloads of American refugees going to Cuba? Why have close to one and a half million people left Cuba to come here? But the only people that leave here to move there, are fugitives from the law and people that steal money from Medicare that go there to hide? Why? How come no American baseball players defect to Cuba? Why don’t any American doctors defect to Cuba if it’s such a paradise?”

The ongoing unrest in Venezuela continues to worry the local government. Maduro’s legitimacy may be fading, but communism apologists will always find a way to ignore the facts to paint a better picture of tyrannical, brutal governments: it’s up to us to keep reminding people out there of what big government apologists can and will do if given the opportunity.


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