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What would a Marco Rubio presidency mean for The Bahamas?

Published: Aug 23, 2013

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Dear Editor,

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell dismissed the rantings of U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as just another voice in the wilderness in responding to the latter’s scathing comments on the Bahamian government’s decision to repatriate 24 Cubans back to Cuba – a country governed by Raul and Fidel Castro.

The Castro regime has been in place since 1959 after his bloody revolution was successful in the ouster of the Fulgencio Batista regime. The United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with the Caribbean island state. Cuba’s once friendly relationship with the United States became strained after the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Castro forged an alliance with the Soviet Union during the Cold War and adopted its Marxist leanings. He declared himself to be a Marxist-Leninist in December of 1961 and formally declared Cuba to be a socialist state in May of the same year.

This was his attempt at becoming independent of the capitalist United States. At the time of the missile crisis in 1962, the USSR was considered to be the boogeyman in the geopolitical world, particularly towards America. At the time of this event, John F. Kennedy was president of the United States; Nikita Khrushchev was president of the USSR. For what it’s worth, The Bahamas finds itself caught between a feud between some U.S. lawmakers, the Cuban activist group Democracy Movement and the Castro government.

Democracy Movement is responsible for the current diplomatic mess the country finds itself wallowing in. While Mitchell may feel confident that a small insignificant French-fry in the person of Ros-Lehtinen is hardly worth losing sleep over, he cannot easily dismiss or ignore Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio. Rubio is a rising star in the GOP and is touted as being a potential presidential or vice presidential candidate for the Republican Party in 2016. Both Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen are of Cuban extraction. So we can understand why they are so up in arms over the repatriation of the 24 Cubans.

The Republican Party has been heavily criticized for not doing enough to reach out to ethnic minorities such as African-Americans and Hispanics. This is one of the main reasons why Republican Mitt Romney suffered such a devastating loss to President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. There is a general consensus among Republicans that the party badly needs to broaden its base if it is to regain the White House. This is where Rubio figures in the grand scheme of things. Republicans see him as the perfect solution to drawing minorities to the party. If Rubio is fielded by the GOP in 2016 and wins, or even if he runs as a vice presidential candidate and he and his running mate are still successful, that could spell bad news for The Bahamas.

Under such a scenario Rubio might seek to retaliate against this small country by demanding that the State Department issue a travel advisory to U.S. citizens not to travel to The Bahamas. As president or vice president, he could bring this country to its knees by putting in place an economic embargo for the alleged manner in which his fellow Cubans were treated by Bahamian authorities. In the final analysis, it is difficult to imagine a Bahamian government having cozy relations with a Rubio administration.

We had better pray that the Castro regime does not harm the 24 Cubans who were sent back. If that were to happen, we would be in deep trouble. No one can deny that the Castro government uses violence to keep its subjects in check. And that has been the case with the communist leaders Mao Zedong in China and Stalin in Russia.

I think Perry Christie erred greatly in sending the Cubans back to their homeland. The government must now move to resolve this issue before it gets any worse and strains our relation with the United States.

– Kevin Evans

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