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    How Cuba is exporting repression to Venezuela

    How Cuba is exporting repression to Venezuela
    By Marco RubioFebruary 28, 2014 | 11:29pm

    Excerpted from the Florida senator’s Feb. 24 remarks on the Senate
    floor, following a speech by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
    The senator from Iowa bragged about a number of things that he learned
    on his trip to Cuba that I’d like to address.
    He bragged about their health-care system — medical school is free,
    doctors are free, clinics are free, their infant-mortality rate may be
    even lower than ours.
    I wonder if the senator was informed, No. 1, that the infant-mortality
    rate of Cuba is completely calculated on figures provided by the Cuban
    government — and totalitarian regimes don’t have the best history of
    accurate reporting. I wonder if he was informed that, before Castro,
    Cuba was 13th in the whole world in infant mortality.
    I wonder if his hosts informed him that in Cuba there are instances
    reported, that if a child only lives a few hours after birth, it’s not
    counted as a person who ever lived and therefore doesn’t count against
    the mortality rate. I wonder if he was informed that in Cuba, any time
    there’s any problem with the child in utero, the mothers are strongly
    encouraged to undergo abortions.
    I wonder if they spoke to him about the outbreak of cholera that they’ve
    been unable to control, or about the three-tiered system where
    foreigners and government officials get health care much better than
    what’s available to the general population.
    I heard about their wonderful literacy rate. Here’s the problem: They
    can only read censored stuff. They’re not allowed access to the
    Internet. The only newspapers they’re allowed to read are Granma or the
    ones produced by the government.
    We heard about Alan Gross, who is not a prisoner. He is a hostage. I
    heard allusions to the idea that maybe there should be a spy swap.
    Here’s the problem: Gross was not a spy. You know what his “crime” was?
    He went to Cuba to hand out satellite radios to the Jewish community.
    Let me tell you what the Cubans are really good at: shutting off
    information to the Internet and to radio and TV and social media. And
    they’re not just good at it domestically, they’re good exporters of
    these things. They’re exporting repression in our hemisphere right now.
    Leopoldo Lopez is the former mayor of a municipality in Caracas. The
    National Guard of Venezuela pulled him into an armored truck last week.
    You know why? For protesting against the government of Venezuela, which
    is a puppet of Havana, completely infiltrated by Cubans and
    military-affairs agents from Havana.
    You know why? Because the Venezuela government is giving them cheap oil
    and free oil, in exchange for help in these sorts of repressions.
    The featured photo shows Genesis Carmona, a beauty queen and a student
    in a city called Valencia. She’s on that motorcycle because the
    government in Venezuela and the so-called civilian groups that it has
    armed — another export from Cuba — they shot her in the head. This is
    her being taken on a motorcycle to the hospital where they were unable
    to save her life. She died last week.
    This is the government that the Cubans support. Not just verbally, but
    with training and tactics. This is who they export — this is what they do.
    Lopez’s supporters are being hit with by water cannons in the street
    because they’re protesting against the government. This has been going
    on now for two weeks.
    This is the ally of Cuba, the puppet of Cuba. And this is what they do
    to their own people. Water cannons knocking people to the ground for
    It is shameful that only three heads of state in this hemisphere have
    spoken out forcefully against what’s happening in Venezuela. It is
    shameful that many members of Congress who traveled to Venezuela and
    were friendly with [late strongman Hugo] Chavez sit by saying nothing
    while this is happening in our own hemisphere.
    And this wonderful Cuban paradise government? This is what they support.
    The dictator Raul Castro just announced he’ll help with whatever the
    Venezuelan government needs.
    What’s the first thing the Venezuelan government did when the protests
    broke out? It cut off access to Twitter and Facebook and the Internet.
    It ran CNN out of there. Years before, it had closed down all the
    independent media 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 1½ million people left Cuba to
    come here, but the only people that leave here to move there are
    fugitives from the law, people who go there to hide?
    The senator from Iowa cited a poll: “More Americans want normal
    relations with Cuba.” So do I — a democratic and free Cuba. But you want
    us to reach out and develop friendly relationships with a serial
    violator of human rights, which supports what’s going on in Venezuela
    and every other atrocity on the planet? And this is who we should be
    opening up to?
    We have sanctions on North Korea because they’re a terrorist government
    and an illegitimate one. Against Iran we have sanctions,because they
    support terrorism and they’re an illegitimate government. And against
    the Cubans we have sanctions. Why? Well, you just saw why.
    Sanctions are a tool in our foreign-policy toolbox, and we, as the
    freest nation on Earth, are looked to by people in this country, and all
    around the world, to stand by them in their moment of need when they
    clamor for freedom and liberty and human rights. They look for America
    to be on their side, not for America to be cutting geopolitical deals or
    making it easier to sell tractors to the government there.
    I would suggest to my colleagues, the next time they go to Cuba, ask to
    meet with the Ladies in White. Ask to meet with the dissidents and the
    human-rights activists that are jailed and repressed and exiled. Ask to
    meet with them.
    I bet you’re going to hear something very different than what you got
    from your hosts on your last trip to the wonderful Cuba, this
    extraordinary socialist paradise. Because it’s a joke. It’s a farce.
    Over the last week, I have tweeted about these issues. I get thousands
    of retweets from students and young people, until they shut them out, in
    Venezuela who are encouraged by the fact that we are on their side. What
    they want is what we have, the freedom and the liberty. That’s what all
    people want.
    And if America and its policy-makers aren’t going to be firmly on the
    side of freedom and liberty, who in the world is? Who on this planet
    will? If this nation is not firmly on the side of human rights and
    freedom and the dignity of all people, what nation on the Earth will?
    And if we’re prepared to walk away from that, then I submit to you that
    this century is going to be a dangerous and dark one. I don’t believe
    that’s what the American people want from us. 89,202,249

    Source: How Cuba is exporting repression to Venezuela | New York Post –