Nominee's Cuba Stance Will Be Scrutinized

Thursday, June 9, 2011
From AP:

US Senator: New Western Hemisphere official must take strong stance against communist Cuba

President Barack Obama's administration has not announced whom it will nominate as the new Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, but Sen. Marco Rubio says the candidate must take a strong position against Cuba's communist-run government.

U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America will depend on the Senate approving the White House's candidate to replace Arturo Valenzuela, who will leave the post in the coming months. Congress begins its summer recess on Aug. 8.

Rubio, a Florida Republican and son of Cuban exiles, told The Associated Press in an email Wednesday he hopes the candidate will have the strength to resist pressure to work with the Castro brothers and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and instead seek to defend democratic institutions, especially in Cuba.

Rubio leads his party on the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere and his objection would impede any candidacy.