“All they know is, they’re just spewing off a left-wing talking point, because if you notice, these are the same people that [say] over and over again, ‘It’s always America’s fault,'” Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants and a Republican from Florida, told Fox News’ “Special Report”.
“No matter what problem there is in the world, America’s to blame for it. America’s done something wrong. They don’t know what the heck they’re talking about,” he added.
After demonstrators calling for the ousting of Cuba’s Communist regime steered to the streets of Havana and other cities on July 11, Sanders tweeted that the embargo, which has been in place since 1962, had “only hurt, not helped, the Cuban people.”
Ocasio-Cortez stayed silent until Thursday when she published a statement showing “solidarity” with the Cuban people and denouncing repression by the Havana government. She then shifted her center to the embargo, describing it as “absurdly cruel” and “the US contribution to Cuban suffering.”
“It is never acceptable for us to use cruelty as a point of leverage against everyday [sic] people,” she said.
“There’s only two embargoes here,” Rubio said Monday. “The embargo against government-owned companies, and the embargo that the Cuban regime imposes on its own people.
“Right now, if an independent business operator, if a small farm owner, if a consultant or independent contractor in Cuba wants to do business with Americans, they can,” the senator explained. “There’s no [US government] restriction on that. It’s the Cuban regime that doesn’t allow it … because they want to control how much money people make every month. It’s the leverage they hold over their heads. The people who give these opinions don’t know what they’re talking about.”
The Associated Press reported late Monday that President Biden had directed the State Department to study increasing staff levels at the US Embassy in Havana in order to help increase engagement with ordinary Cubans following the protests.
Biden also reportedly ordered the production of a working group to analyze US payment policy to ensure that money that Cuban-Americans send home makes it straight into the hands of their families without the regime taking a piece.
Rubio and other lawmakers have been pushing the White House to work with Congress to help make the internet more open on the island after the Cuban government blocked social media sites during the protests.
“Cuba today is basically in a state of martial law,” Rubio told host Bret Baier. “In many of the major cities across the country, troops are stationed, security forces are stationed, and the message is clear: They’re all continuing to repress people.”