Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) will not soon forget the tongue-lashing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave him on the senate floor last Wednesday.
The outburst came shortly after Sen Harkin had praised the Communist regime following a recent visit there. Something that the Cuban-American senator found offensive, to say the least.
Harkin had just returned from Cuba with ample praise for the country’s healthcare system, the infant mortality rate, the literacy rate there and baseball. An angry Sen. Rubio took exception from the comments.
In Rubio’s memorable diatribe, he said “I heard him also talk about these great doctors that they have in Cuba, and I have no doubt they're very talented; I've met a bunch of them. You know where I met them? In the United States, because they defected. Because, in Cuba, doctors would rather drive a taxicab or work in a hotel than be a doctor."
The senator defined Harkin’s comments as “naïve" and his description of Cuba’s literacy rate as “wonderful.”
"Here's the problem," Rubio said. "They can only read censored stuff. They're not allowed access to the Internet ... It's great to have literacy, but if you don't have access to the information, what's the point of it?"
Rubio is no stranger to the harshness of Communist rule on the island 90 miles from the United States. His parents were Cuban immigrants. "Let me tell you what Cubans are really good at," Rubio said. "What they're really good at is repression. What they're really good at is shutting off information to the Internet, and to radio and to television and social media ... And they're not just good at it domestically, they're good exporters of these things."
It didn’t end there.
While an embarrassed Harkin looked on, Rubio showed slides taken from the Venezuelan streets. Government protestors being arrested, shot, and hit with water cannons, "because they are protesting the government."
Is this what a paradise Cuba is? How come I never read about boatloads of refugees going to Cuba? Why have close to one and a half million people left Cuba to come here, but the only ones who leave here to move there are fugitives from the law and people who steal money from Medicare?"
Rubio plans to present a measure to the Senate for immediate sanctions against Venezuela, Cuba’s ally fraught with revolution.
There was no further comment from Sen. Harkin.
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