EspañolUnited States Senator Marco Rubio said he plans to block the nomination of Jeffrey DeLaurentis as first ambassador to Cuba.
Rubio warned that until the Cuban government shows significant progress in the protection of human rights, he plans to block the appointment.
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“This nomination should not go anywhere until the regime of (Raul) Castro progresses significantly and irreversibly in the areas of human rights and political freedoms for the Cuban people, and until concerns about the theft of property by the Cuban regime and the crimes committed against American citizens are addressed,” the senator said in a statement.
The warning came after the White House announced it would be nominating DeLaurentis on Tuesday, September 27.
“Jeff is already working with Cuba on issues that advance the national interests of the United States,” President Barack Obama said, “such as law enforcement, the fight against drugs, environmental protection, the fight against human trafficking, expanding trade and agricultural occasions, and cooperation in science and health.”
DeLaurentis is the current Head of Business Affairs in Havana, and was previously Head of US Interests.
Despite praise from the President, Rubio maintained his stance on the appointment.
“Since the fiasco of the Administration to not invite dissidents to the opening of the embassy in Havana, along with its weak response to the continuing repression in Cuba — including a Twitter account of the embassy under the leadership of Mr. DeLaurentis that looks more like that of a travel agency than a defense of the values and interests of Americans — President Obama has failed the Cuban people,” Rubio continued.
Director of the Latin American Center Peter Schechter said DeLaurentis has all the qualifications to lead the embassy in Havana, and that it “matters little to a divided Congress” who is not willing “to give President Obama a victory in his last hours.”