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Marco Rubio, the Birthers, Batista, Castro, and a little Cuban History

At least we now know that the “birthers” are non-partisan. They are descending upon Marco Rubio. (source)

Of course, the birthers are as stupid as ever. Rubio was clearly born in Flori-duh, and we still have “birthright citizenship.” End of that story.

On the other hand, it seems that Marco Rubio has been a little less than forthcoming about when the Rubios got to the United States. (source)

During his rise to political prominence, Sen. Marco Rubio frequently repeated a compelling version of his family’s history that had special resonance in South Florida. He was the “son of exiles,” he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after “a thug,” Fidel Castro, took power.

But a review of documents — including naturalization papers and other official records — reveals that the Florida Republican’s account embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than two-and-a-half years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959. (source)

But if the Rubios left Cuba at that time, rather then when he lied about them leaving, well that would make me respect the Rubio family more. At that time, Cuba was ruled by Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar. Batista was by all measures, a fascist. He suspended the Cuban Constitution, civil liberties were nonexistent. Further, like Rubio today, he decided to cozy up to the big landowners and rich guys in Cuba to help them get richer at the expense of the average Cuban, who simply descended into deeper and deeper misery. Rather than give a shit about his own people, and not content to simply align himself with the upper 1% in Cuba, he made sure to also bring American organized crime into his circle of cronies. When the Cuban people got pissy about it, he decided to react by censoring the media and having his secret police force torture and kill “disloyal” Cubans, murdering approximately 20,000 of his fellow countrymen.

Nice guy, huh?

So the Rubio family left a Cuba ruled by this asshole? Good for them. In fact, if Rubio were telling the truth, about fleeing once Castro came to power, I would have a lot less trust in him. In 1959, Castro was seen as the leader of a popular uprising, and a revolution of necessity and national liberation. Chances are, if you fled Cuba in 1959, you were one of Batista’s cronies. You know, the murdering, torturing, organized-crime aligned fascists. Sure, Castro wound up being pretty much same as the old boss, and of course, many Cubans fled once that became apparent. Those Cubans could properly be described as fleeing tyranny. But in this case, Rubio could earn a lot more of my respect by acknowledging that his family fled from the Batista regime.

But then, his political base wouldn’t think too much of him. There is a damn good reason why Jeb Bush put Batista’s grandson on the Florida Supreme Court. Batista would have been very much at home in today’s Republican party.

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