Marco Rubio

Matias J. Ocner / Miami Herald

Last week President Trump dealt another blow to the U.S. policy of engagement with communist Cuba. He banned U.S. people-to-people travel to Cuba – and also cruise line travel, which last year carried an estimated 800,000 passengers to the island. It was just the latest rollback of the normalization of relations that Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, began five years ago. And it raises the question: Does U.S. engagement with Cuba have a future anymore?

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COMMENTARY

Here’s the most surprising – and most amusing – development after last week’s failed attempt to stoke a military uprising in Venezuela.

According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the U.S. and Cuba may actually sit down to negotiate a solution to the disastrous and dictatorial rule of socialist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Fernando Llano / AP

COMMENTARY

So Juan Guaidó is now 0-for-3 in his attempts to incite a regime-changing military uprising in Venezuela.

The opposition leader had hoped to get the armed forces to back him in January when he declared himself (rightfully so) Venezuela’s constitutionally legitimate president. And again in February when he tried to push humanitarian aid into Venezuela from Colombia.

Fernando Llano / AP

After the deadly clashes along Venezuela's borders this past weekend, authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro still looks firmly entrenched in power. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó is recognized by the United States and more than 50 other countries as Venezuela's legitimate president. And now he says "all options" - even U.S. military intervention - should be considered to topple Maduro's socialist regime.

WLRN's Christine DiMattei and Tim Padgett talked about where the Venezuela crisis stands now - and where it's probably headed.

Associated Press

Sen. Marco Rubio, in Colombia to tour the U.S. humanitarian aid sent to help Venezuelans, said Sunday that the Venezuelan armed forces are about to make “the most important” decision of their lives.

“The moment of truth is approaching, when they will have to decide whether they will issue orders to their soldiers that will not be obeyed, and that they themselves know are bad,” Rubio said in an interview with el Nuevo Herald. “And they will have to make the most important decision of their lives.”

El Nuevo Herald

Leonys Martín was the first Cuban baseball player Paul Minoff ever represented. Minoff, an attorney with GrayRobinson in Fort Lauderdale, was astonished by the scary stories Martín told him about being smuggled out of communist Cuba by human traffickers.

Nati Harnik / AP via Miami Herald

Last month Major League Baseball and communist Cuba agreed to let Cubans play pro ball in the U.S. – without having to defect. But now the Trump Administration – and especially Florida Senator Marco Rubio – are saying: not so fast.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

Over the weekend the New York Times created hemispheric buzz. It reported that U.S. officials talked privately this past year with rebellious Venezuelan military officers. Those officers wanted U.S. help to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro.

Apparently nothing came of the talks; the Trump Administration declined to help the rogue militares. But the Times story was more evidence that President Trump is exploring unusually strong action to topple Maduro. At the White House last summer, he'd already displayed that impulse.

“We have many options for Venezuela," Trump said then, "including a possible military option if necessary…”

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

Marco Rubio announced Tuesday that he will ask federal agencies to oppose the 836 expressway expansion into West Kendall, a major roadblock for Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Miami-Dade County Commission after they gave preliminary approval for the 14-mile highway in June.

The Republican senator’s alignment with environmentalists, who say the highway would damage the Everglades and cause urban sprawl, could affect the project’s progress due to federal land swaps from the Department of Interior that are needed before construction can begin.

Gregory Bull / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

I’m a critic of U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s push to isolate Cuba, which I consider an outdated means of achieving change on the communist island. But I’m an admirer of the Miami Republican in most other regards – especially her fundamental decency.

She reminded me why last year, when she didn’t show up in Little Havana for President Trump’s get-tough-on-Cuba show. Sources close to her tell me she found the Republican president’s “rollback” of U.S.-Cuba relations about as meaningful as one of his late-night tweets. More important, she really didn’t want to be in the same camera frame with Trump – a guy she seems to find as bereft of fundamental decency as most Americans do.

Ramon Espinosa; Evan Vucci / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Intellectual honesty is rarely a politician’s strong suit. But Florida Senator Marco Rubio showed us just how epic his hypocrisy is when he didn't denounce President Trump’s bromance this week with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. So epic it can only be explained by a line from another epic, “Lawrence of Arabia.”

To wit: There’s a big difference between a politician who merely hides the truth and a politician who’s forgotten where he put it.

Miami Herald

Sometimes Leonard Pitts Jr., the nationally syndicated Miami Herald columnist, wants to change your mind. Sometimes he just wants to scream about the things that bother him. He says that may be the case when he's writing about President Trump. Currently, he's in a Twitter spat with Senator Marco Rubio.

Andrew Harnik / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Ever since he ran away from immigration reform, Americans no longer look to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for bridge-building leadership on that issue. But I’m still willing to believe Rubio’s heart is in the right place, even if his head left the building.

So I was also willing to believe the Miami Republican was sincere when he told reporters in Tallahassee this week that he doesn’t “see the problem” with the Trump administration’s proposal to ask folks if they’re U.S. citizens in the 2020 Census.

Sen. Marco Rubio Files Bills For Year-Round Daylight-Saving Time

Mar 15, 2018

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., backed Florida state legislators Wednesday by filing separate bills aimed at keeping Florida --- and the nation --- on daylight-saving time throughout the year.

Desmond Boylan / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

This Sunday, Cuba will hold what passes for parliamentary elections there. Voters will ratify National Assembly candidates pre-selected by the ruling Communist Party. On April 19 the Assembly will elect one of its own as President of the country.

It’s a neat little system that’s even less democratic than the U.S. Electoral College.

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