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GOP Senator Marco Rubio of Florida blocked the nomination of Julissa Reynoso, chosen by President Joe Biden, to serve as ambassador to Spain, considering her “as a sympathizer and apologist of the Castro regime”.
This was announced by Rubio in a statement, where he pointed out that Reynoso would not pressure Spain “to increase pressure against the authoritarian regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela”.
In that sense, the senator said that Reynoso would possibly let Spain “turn a blind eye” to those “regimes” and affirmed that the United States needs someone who “is committed to freedom and human rights” in the continent, “not a delegate of the dictators”.
He added that Reynoso was implicated in the past in helping to “exchange imprisoned members of the Cuban regime’s intelligence service while they were serving a sentence in an American prison” during the thaw policy in the Obama administration.
According to Marco Rubio, this raises serious questions about Reynoso’s character and judgment.
The senator was referring to the three years Reynoso served during Obama’s term (2009-2017) as the State Department’s top Latin America official, which made her the foreign portfolio official in charge of U.S.-Cuba ties during the thaw years.
During the hearing to consider Reynoso’s nomination in early October, several senators criticized the government of Spanish President Pedro Sánchez for not sharing Washington’s strategy against Cuba.
In the session, lawmakers pressed the official to influence the Spanish government on Latin American issues.
Rubio is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In order to be confirmed to the post, Reynoso was ratified in a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and later had to be ratified in the full Senate.
The block presented by Rubio means that her nomination will not be submitted to a vote in the full Senate and is paralyzed for the time being.