U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been sharply critical of President Barack Obama's plans to ease tensions with Cuba and open trade with the island nation, officially took over a key Senate subcommittee and said the first order of business would be a hearing on the Cuba policy.
As expected, on Wednesday Rubio was officially named chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues.
The Republican from West Miami also said the first hearing of the subcommittee would be next week, Tuesday Feb. 3, to examine Obama’s changes to Cuba policy and its impact on human rights in the island.
In a statement, Rubio said: "The subcommittee will be a platform for bringing light and solutions to rising problems in the hemisphere, such as growing inhospitality for individual freedoms, deteriorating security environments, lagging competitiveness, ineffective regional organizations, the need for political stability and economic prosperity in Haiti, and the promotion and support of democracy in places where individual freedoms are all but a dream, such as Cuba and Venezuela."
The full statement spelling out his ambitions for the subcommittee is here.