Sen. Marco Rubio will announce that political dissidents would be guests of honor at the inauguration in January 2017 should he be elected president.
The Florida Republican plans to make that statement in a speech Friday morning in New York City.
"I will make this pledge here and now: As president, as a symbol of solidarity between my administration and those who strive for freedom around the world, I will invite Cuban dissidents, Iranian dissidents, Chinese dissidents, and freedom fighters from around the world to be honored guests at my inauguration," Rubio will say, according to excerpts provided to CQ Roll Call. The New York event sponsored by the Foreign Policy Initiative comes just as Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to be in Havana for the raising of the American flag over the embassy there. Rubio has said the facility wouldn't be an embassy if he becomes president.
"First, on day one, I will give the Castros a choice: either continue repressing your people and lose the diplomatic relations and benefits provided by President Obama, or carry out meaningful political and human rights reforms and receive increased U.S. trade, investment, and support. Second, I will restore Cuba to the state sponsor of terror list until it stops supporting designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, helping North Korea evade international sanctions, or harboring fugitives from American justice," Rubio will say. "Third, I will do everything in my power to provide support to Cuba’s pro-democracy movement, promote greater access to uncensored information for the Cuban people, and deprive the Castro regime of the funding for its repressive security state." In addition to addressing Cuba, Rubio plans to offer a three-point proposal regarding Iran. "These deals demonstrate with jarring clarity how this administration has failed to anticipate impending crises, ignored the realities of the globalized economy, and sought to make America liked rather than respected; the way it has placed politics before policy, adversaries before allies, and legacy before leadership; the way it has confused weakness for restraint, concession for compromise, and — most simply of all — wrong for right," he intends to day, drawing together the recent agreement regarding Iran's nuclear development and the thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
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