Rubio: I'll invite Cuban dissidents to my inauguration
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio vowed to invite Cuban, Iranian and Chinese dissidents to his inauguration if elected president, in a speech that blasted President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for making "concessions" to Iran and Cuba that "endanger our nation."
Rubio timed his remarks to the formal reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba on Friday. As he vowed to reverse the restoration of relations with Cuba, Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Havana to raise the flag over the embassy shuttered for 54 years.
No dissidents were invited to the ceremony, although some are expected at an event Kerry plans to attend later Friday. The Cuban government considers political opponents subversive.
Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, said his administration would take a harder line, inviting "freedom fighters from around the world" to his inauguration as a symbol of solidarity.
"President Obama has made no such effort to stand on the side of freedom. He has been quick to deal with the oppressors, but slow to deal with the oppressed. And his excuses are paper-thin," he said.
Rubio linked the Obama administration's Cuba policy with its deal to curb Iran's nuclear program, and repeated his plans to roll back both diplomatic moves if elected.
"Centuries of global affairs tell us the best way to affect an outcome with volatile leaders is through strength and example, while the worst is through weakness and concession," he said. "Yet weakness and concession are the preferred tools of statecraft for this administration.'