United States Senator Marco Rubio launched his presidential campaign Monday, with a fierce speech promising to renew U.S. leadership around the world.
“We must no longer be passive in the face of Chinese and Russian aggression … especially Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua … by ending the near total disregard for the erosion of democracy and human rights around the world then our nation will be safer,” said Rubio, making his disapproval of these governments explicit.
The statement contradicts a previous intervention by Rubio with the Brookings Institution in 2012, where he acknowledged that the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia were democratically elected.
The Republican candidate promised he will usher in a “new American Century,” highlighting his belief that the U.S. has weakened, while adding that the 2016 elections would decide what kind of country the U.S. would be in the future.
He also explained that, if he becomes president, he would reform the U.S. tax code, immigration policies and he would repeal Presdient Barack Obama’s health care program known as “Obamacare.”
Rubio has been banned from entering Nicaragua and Venezuela due to his remarks interfering in internal politics in those countries; he is an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s policy toward Cuba.
The Florida Senator recently met with Colombian former president and current Senator Alvaro Uribe to plot against the Venezuelan government, journalist Jose Vicente Rangel claimed Sunday.
Rubio has assumed the chairmanship of a Senate subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, which has given him full oversight of U.S. foreign policy across the Americas.
Consistently, the senator has acted against Venezuela and other Latin American governments – such as Nicaragua, Argentina and Cuba – and is one of the promoters of sanctions against Venezuela and Cuba.
Rubio, of Cuban parents, has close ties to the anti-Cuban lobby in Florida.
Former secretary of state and first lady Hillary Clinton also announced her bid for the 2016 presidential race last week.
Though Rubio has taken a more public stance on Venezuela, Clinton has little love for the Bolivarian republic, and referred to former president Hugo Chavez as a “self-aggrandizing dictator” in her 2014 autobiography Hard Choices.
A March report of the non-profit Clinton Foundation showed that Venezuelan billionaire and media tycoon Gustavo Cisneros donated up to US$1 million between 2009-13.
Additional reporting by venezuelanalysis.com.