Marco Rubio denies embellishing story of his family’s Cuban flight

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising Republican star often discussed as a future White House hopeful, says he did not embellish for political advantage the story of his parents’ emigration from Cuba.

Rubio issued a statement late Thursday responding to a Washington Post story that asserted that Rubio’s parents left Cuba more than two years before Fidel Castro came to power. Rubio, who was born in the U.S. more a decade later, has described his parents as exiles who fled Castro’s communist government.

Rubio, who often uses his biography in political speeches, stood by that description Thursday:

“To suggest my family’s story is embellished for political gain is outrageous. The dates I have given regarding my family’s history have always been based on my parents’ recollections of events that occurred over 55 years ago and which were relayed to me by them more than two decades after they happened,” he said.

The Post story notes that Rubio’s parents arrived in the U.S. in 1956. Castro came to power in 1959.


Rubio says his parents tried to return to their home after the communist takeover but realized they could not live under Castro’s rule.

“What’s important is that the essential facts of my family’s story are completely accurate. My parents are from Cuba. After arriving in the United States, they had always hoped to one day return to Cuba if things improved and traveled there several times. In 1961, my mother and older siblings did in fact return to Cuba while my father stayed behind wrapping up the family’s matters in the U.S. After just a few weeks living there, she fully realized the true nature of the direction Castro was taking Cuba and returned to the United States one month later, never to return,” the senator’s statement read. “They were exiled from the home country they tried to return to because they did not want to live under communism.”