Washington, D.C.– U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding Wednesday’s beating by Cuban regime thugs of several American citizens and Cuban dissident leaders who were in Panama City, Panama for the Summit of the Americas:
“Things at the Summit of the Americas have gone from bad to worse, and it’s clear that the Cuban regime feels there are no consequences for continuing their human rights abuses, even on foreign soil. Cuban regime thugs beat up several Cuban dissident leaders and American citizens visiting Panama for the summit. Panamanian authorities subsequently detained this group after being attacked and at one point reportedly threatened to deport them, while letting the Cuban regime attackers walk free.
“It’s hard to imagine a more sickening start to this summit. It’s reflecting poorly on Panama, reminding us of the true nature of the Castro regime, and showing just how naïve President Obama’s Cuba policy is. Cuba has done nothing to earn the legitimacy President Obama continues to bestow on the regime. It is a grave mistake to de-list Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list, one that will further embolden the regime to step up their actions against America’s interests.
“The State Department should insist that Panama guarantee the free and safe participation in the summit of the group that was attacked yesterday, along with all other democracy advocates from all over the hemisphere. The U.S. government should also ask the Panamanian government what it is doing to bring to justice the Castro regime thugs that attacked the group of Cubans and Americans.
“President Obama should strongly condemn these actions on both the Cuban regime’s and Panamanian authorities’ part, and he should make meeting with this group and supporting them his priority while he’s in Panama instead of further legitimizing the Cuban regime by insisting on meeting with Raul Castro.
“With all the important priorities we have in Latin America, President Obama and all the governments of the region have themselves to blame for allowing Cuba to participate in this Summit and run amok.”