Rubio: CNN’s Cuban Spy Documentary A Reminder That Ana Belen Montes Belongs In U.S. Prison 2

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Marco Rubio

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued the following statement after last night’s airing of CNN’s Original Series “Declassified” documentary on convicted Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes, who reports earlier this year indicated has been discussed by the U.S. government and Cuban regime as part of a potential prisoner exchange:‎

“In recent months, there have been reports about a potential prisoner exchange between the U.S. and the Castro regime involving convicted Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes. After watching last night’s CNN documentary on Ana Belen Montes, I hope those who are contemplating making the mistake of releasing her, including anyone in the White House, realize how absurd an idea it is because of how her espionage against the U.S. endangered American lives, and that they drop this altogether.”

Last month, Rubio announced his opposition to the possibility of releasing Montes in exchange for Joanne Chesimard, who killed a New Jersey police officer and has been harbored by Cuba for decades.

Swapping Cuban Spy For American Cop Killer A Non-Starter 1

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Marco Rubio

By Marco Rubio, Sunshine State News

With reports that the U.S. government and Cuban regime have discussed the possibility of releasing convicted Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes in exchange for Joanne Chesimard, who killed a New Jersey police officer and has been living in Cuba for decades, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., expressed his firm opposition to the idea this week:

‎Ana Belen Montes is one of the most hardened and unrepentant spies ever captured and convicted by the United States government. Over an extended period of time, Belen Montes repeatedly compromised our national security and endangered American lives.

Were it not for the courageous actions of federal law enforcement and counter-espionage agents, there is no telling how much damage Belen Montes could have wrought on our national security. Releasing her from prison for any reason is a non-starter, but the notion that she would be given her freedom in exchange for a convicted cop killer would be an even greater outrage to the victims of both Ana Belen Montes and Joanne Chesimard.

The Obama administration at every level should unequivocally take this possibility off the negotiating table and make clear to the Castro regime that it will never happen.

It is crazy that something like this even needs to be said, but as we have seen with the Obama administration time and time again, nothing is outside the realm of possibility. Whether releasing terrorists from GITMO or the Cuban spies it has already released, the Obama administration has shown a reckless approach to one-sided prisoner swaps that endanger America’s security and send a message that our justice system can be circumvented for the right price or the right short-sighted political goal.

Ana Belen Montes deserves to serve every single day of her sentence in a federal prison, and Joanne Chesimard should join her soon, and the Obama administration should restate their commitment to both of these goals and they should do it soon.

U.S. Sen .Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was first elected to the Senate in 2010

The Laughable Duplicity of “Former” Cuban Spy Arturo Lopez-Levy 12

Former Spy Arturo López-Levy, now believed to be in his 8th year as a doctorate candidate.....

“Former” Spy Arturo López-Levy

By Chris Simmons

The Huffington Post disgraced itself again yesterday with another propaganda piece by admitted “former” Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer, Arturo Lopez-Levy. His feature, Why Senator Rubio’s Lies Matter,” condemned the Senator for a lack of ethics. Lopez-Levy attacked Rubio for having lied when he claimed his family fled the left-wing dictatorship of Fidel Castro when in reality they fled the right-wing dictatorship of General Fulgencio Batista. The “former” spy said this deception “shined a spotlight on the senator’s moral character.” Lopez-Levy then proceeded to make the outrageous claim that conservative Cuban-Americans (including Rubio) are former Batista supporters.

As ludicrous as Lopez-Levy’s statements are, the real hypocrisy is the layers of lies in which he has encased his own persona. The real name of this perpetual doctoral candidate (now believed to be in his 8th year of studies) is Arturo Lopez-Callejas. After all, this is the name he lived by for over 30 years in Cuba. The faux scholar also now denies his spy career, although he acknowledged his patriotic service to Fidel in his book, Raul Castro and the New Cuba: A Close-Up View of Change.

He also – innocently I’m sure – forgot to tell readers he is Raul Castro’s nephew-in-law. More specifically, he is the first cousin of Castro’s son-in-law, Brigadier General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Primo Lopez-Callejas. Rodriguez leads the Enterprise Administration Group (GAESA), placing him in command of Cuba’s entire tourism industry. According to the Miami Herald, “Rodriguez, married to Castro’s oldest daughter, Deborah Castro Espín, is widely viewed as one of the most powerful and ambitious men in Cuba — smart, arrogant, frugal and a highly effective administrator of GAESA.”  Herald reporter Juan Tamayo also noted that Deborah Castro’s brother is Alejandro Castro Espín, Castro’s chief intelligence advisor.

So to recap, the man who lies about his true name, his career, his family ties, and the privileged life he led in Cuba now has the cojones to question the integrity of another person?  Seriously????

WH Calls on Cuba to Release Alan Gross, Remove ‘Impediment’ to Normalizing Relations 6

FILE - This undated handout photo provided by the Gross family shows Alan and Judy Gross at an unknown location. An attorney for a Gross, who has spent over four years imprisoned in Cuba, argued before a federal appeals court that his client should be allowed to sue the U.S. government over his imprisonment. (AP Photo/Gross Family, File)

FILE – This undated handout photo provided by the Gross family shows Alan and Judy Gross at an unknown location. An attorney for a Gross, who has spent over four years imprisoned in Cuba, argued before a federal appeals court that his client should be allowed to sue the U.S. government over his imprisonment. (AP Photo/Gross Family, File)

By Lesley Clark, McClatchy Washington Bureau

The White House marked the fifth anniversary of U.S. contractor Alan Gross’s captivity in Cuba by calling for his release, saying it “would remove an impediment to more constructive relations between the United States and Cuba.”

Gross, a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, has been held in Cuba since his arrest on Dec. 3, 2009, for smuggling satellite communications equipment to Cuba as part of USAID’s pro-democracy programs.

The administration “remains focused on securing Alan’s freedom from a Cuban prison, and returning him safely to his wife and children, where he belongs,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement, saying the U.S. is “deeply concerned” about Gross’s health and that a release on humanitarian grounds would make it easier to normalize relations with Cuba.

But Gross has become increasingly frustrated with the U.S. government and its failure so far to win his freedom, said his wife, Judy, who said Wednesday it was “time for President Obama to bring Alan back to the United States now; otherwise it will be too late.”

“Alan is resolved that he will not endure another year imprisoned in Cuba, and I am afraid that we are at the end,” Gross said. “After five years of literally wasting away, Alan is done.”

The Cuban government has linked Gross’s release to the imprisonment of five Cubans convicted in 2001 of infiltrating South Florida military installations and spying on the exile community. But the administration has repeatedly ruled out a swap, saying the USAID subcontractor wasn’t a spy and can’t be part of a spy-for-spy swap.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called for Cuba to release Gross and urged the Obama administration to “step up its efforts” to secure an “unconditional release” for Gross.

“Unilateral concessions by the U.S. government to the Castro regime will help fund more human rights violations, and keep real freedom further out of reach for the Cuban people,” Rubio said.

Sen. Rubio: Alan Gross Is Being Held As A ‘Hostage’ In Cuba 1

(JP Updates) In a floor speech on the situation in Cuba, that the national media had described as his comeback moment for the 2016 presidential election, Florida Marco Rubio noted that the Jewish American contractor, Alan Gross, is being held up a a “hostage” in Cuba for handing out satellite radios to Jewish Cubans.

The blistering speech came in response to a speech given by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), returning from a visit in Cuba, where he praised the Cuban government for their hospitality and for what he called their advanced health care system and socialized education system.

“We heard about Mr. Gross, who is not in jail. He’s not a prisoner. He is a hostage. He is a hostage,” said Sen. Rubio. “And in the speech I heard a moment ago, I heard allusions to the idea that maybe we should — he didn’t say it, but I know the language, I know the code in this — that maybe there should be a spy swap. Here’s the problem: Mr. Gross was not a spy. You know what his crime was, if that’s what you can call it? He went to Cuba to hand out satellite radios to the Jewish community.”

“But, we’re glad to hear that the Cubans are so nice to him that they let him walk 10,000 steps a day and do pull-ups and they let him build a necklace out of bottle cap tops. Very nice of them to allow him to do those things. How generous,” he added.

Watch Rubio’s floor speech below:

Rubio Delivers Floor Speech On Crisis In Venezuela

The Link Between Venezuela and Cuba 1

By Keith Johnson, The Tico Times

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Top U.S. lawmakers from both parties are urging the Obama administration to take a tougher line on Venezuela, which is violently cracking down on popular protests against the government of Nicolás Maduro. For some on Capitol Hill, though, the real target is Cuba.

These leading Republicans and Democrats are pushing back at a country that has been a constant thorn in the side of U.S. interests in Latin America in recent years.

Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R., Fla., and Eliot Engel, D., N.Y., have both called for the Organization of American States, which meets this week, to take a tougher line on the Maduro government’s treatment of peaceful protesters. Sen. Marco Rubio, R., Fla., has floated the idea of U.S. sanctions against Venezuelan officials involved in the crackdown, and even against the Venezuelan government itself.

But Venezuela hawks such as Rubio are making a second argument: tougher action against Venezuela represents a chance to undermine one of the key lifelines of the communist regime in Cuba, whose economy relies on heavily subsidized oil and other gifts from Caracas.

“The Cubans get free and cheap oil from the Venezuelans. So their interest is keeping this regime in place because they’re their benefactors,” Rubio told CNN this week. “And Cuba is clearly involved in assisting the Venezuelan government with both personnel and training and equipment to carry out these repressive activities,” he added.

Feature continues here: The Link Between Venezuela and Cuba

The US Would be Crazy to Re-establish Ties With Cuba 2

By Juan Williams
Published February 05, 2013
FoxNews.com

Get ready for the U.S. to make a big mistake on Cuba. Sixty percent of Americans favor re-establishing ties with Cuba, in the last Gallup poll on the issue and that was four years ago. Meanwhile, more Americans are traveling to Cuba — erasing memories of Fidel Castro confiscating property and wealth while working with Russia to threaten the U.S. with missiles.
And now President Obama’s new Secretary of State is on the record calling for the U.S. to end cold war sanctions against Cuba’s communist regime. It will be a mistake for President Obama to end any part of the U.S. embargo against Cuba without insisting on a full slate of democratic freedoms, human rights and property rights in the country.

John Kerry, the new boss at the State Department, has criticized the “power of the Cuban-American lobby” and a half-century of hatred of Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro. As a senator, Kerry voted against the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, which tightened trade restrictions on Cuba. Back in 2000, Kerry said: “We have a frozen, stalemated counterproductive policy [on Cuba]… There’s just a complete and total contradiction between the way we deal with China, the way we deal with Russia, the way we have been dealing with Cuba. … The only reason we don’t re-evaluate the policy is the politics of Florida.” Secretary Kerry is not alone.

Chuck Hagel, the president’s choice to become Secretary of Defense, has been an out-spoken critic of the 50-year-old U.S. trade embargo on Cuba and restrictions on travel to the Caribbean nation. The former Nebraska senator has called on the U.S. to “engage” with Cuba just as we have with communist countries like Vietnam and China. President Obama’s decision to elevate two such vocal advocates for rapprochement with Cuba has attracted little press attention. But it is just the latest in a string of signals that big changes are imminent.

As a matter of politics, the Democrat in the White House did surprisingly well with Florida’s Cuban American voters in winning Florida in the 2012 election. Older Cubans who traditionally support anti-Castro Republicans largely stayed with the GOP but younger Cubans voted for President Obama. And the young voices are becoming more vocal about the need for a new era of U.S. policies that bring change to Cuba through closer ties to the U.S.

In addition, Fidel Castro is now 86 and in poor health. His brother, Raul, Cuba’s current leader, is 81. And despite the official ban on Americans traveling to Cuba there is a large loophole allowing academics and cultural leaders to go there. Those tourists generally romanticize Cuba’s revolutionary past. And American business is also anxious to see the doors open to investment in an island 90 miles from Miami and ready for an economic boom once trade with the U.S. resumes.

President Obama has been sending signals, too. In his inaugural address last month, he said he wants to “resolve our differences with other nations peacefully — not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.”
For President Obama, a man looking to make history as part of his second term legacy, that policy makes Cuba a tempting target.

Several Latin countries are joining the chorus of calls for the U.S. to change its attitude toward Cuba. They are pushing the U.S. to allow Cuba to join regional economic groups. On January 28th, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States [CELAC] even passed its rotating presidency to Cuba’s current leader, Raul Castro. CELAC’s charter mission is to promote democracy and human rights in the region and they are trusting Cuba’s dictators. With so many signs pointing in one direction – resumption of U.S. ties to Cuba – it is time to call for a STOP sign.

For example, CELAC’s decision is tragically wrong given Cuba’s awful history on human rights and democracy. Cuba continues to jail political opponents and suppress free speech. That is a fact. Independent observers can see it. José Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch said Castro’s selection as CELAC president “sends a message [that Latin governments] couldn’t care less about the poor human rights record and the lack of fundamental freedoms in Cuba.” And it will be a mistake for President Obama to end any part of the U.S. embargo without insisting on a full slate of democratic freedoms, human rights and property rights in Cuba.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal last year, I expressed my disagreement with those who have suggested cozying up to Latin American dictators like the Castro brothers and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. It is personal with me. My family fled Panama in the early 1950’s to escape the poverty and open the door to education and opportunity. Those doors were shut by a Latin strong man — Panama’s Arnulfo Arias. I wrote: “My life’s major turn away from poverty came thanks to my father’s vision of his children escaping a despot like Arias. That dream of a better life is alive throughout Latin America. To romanticize any dictator is to kill those dreams by condemning poor kids in Latin America, like me, to tyrants and the burden of limited education and economic opportunity.”

Congressional Republicans remain largely united in their opposition to normalizing relations with Castro’s Cuba. They are led by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lethnien, both Cuban Americans. New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, a Cuban American, supports continuing tight restrictions to isolate the Castro regime and promote democracy and human rights for the Cuban people. He is scheduled to become chair of the Senate Foreign Relations panel. It will be up to Rubio, Ros-Lethnien and Menendez to stop President Obama from making a big mistake and turning away from a freedom agenda for America’s neighbors in Latin America. STOP!

Juan Williams is a Fox News political analyst. He is the author of several books including “Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America–and What We Can Do About It” and “Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate.”

Senator Marco Rubio to Vote for Spy-Associated Ambassador 1

By Julian Pecquet, TheHill.com

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is vowing to break with conservatives in his party and help confirm President Obama’s controversial choice for ambassador to El Salvador when she comes before the Senate, possibly as early as Wednesday.

Obama gave Mari Carmen Aponte a recess appointment in 2010 but it expired at the end of last year after Senate Republicans filibustered her. Some Republicans have raised concerns that Aponte might have dated a Cuban spy 20 years ago, while others sought to use her nomination to pressure the administration to change other Latin American policies.

Rubio, a possible GOP vice presidential candidate and rising star in the Republican Party, initially opposed Aponte’s nomination, but has since shifted, a spokesman told The Hill.

“When this issue came up last year, Sen. Rubio was opposing several western hemisphere nominations because of concerns with the administration’s policies in the hemisphere, especially in Nicaragua,”  Rubio spokesman Alex Conant told The Hill in an email. “We worked behind the scenes with the Administration and reached an agreement on Nicaragua, so the senator agreed to vote for cloture on Aponte and find enough Republican votes (6) for her to pass.”

“Since Sen. Rubio’s opposition was never based on her personally and the administration has address(ed) his policy concerns, he looks forward to voting for her whenever Senator [Harry] Reid (D-Nev.) brings her up for another vote.”

Conant added that Rubio has found enough Republicans for her to get the 60 votes she needs. One of those Republicans, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), is still recovering from a stroke, however.

Rubio is under pressure from powerful Hispanic groups to support Aponte, who was born in Puerto Rico. Conant said Aponte has personally thanked Rubio for his support.