Speaking at the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was confronted by a Cuban journalist who attempted to browbeat him about the National Rifle Association supporting Rubio’s campaign, insinuating that Rubio was corrupt.
Rubio took the opportunity to strike back hard, giving the Cuban journalist a dramatic lesson in American civics while implicitly condemning the Cuban regime, from which his parent fled, for its own suppression of freedom.
The Cuban journalist, Sergio Gomez, from the Granma newspaper, began his attack like this:
Gomez: "The central theme of the summit is the fight against corruption. I wonder if the influence lobbyists hold on politicians was in the agenda, specifically the NRA, from whom you’ve received more than three million dollars. What do you say to your voters from Lima? Will you continue to accept money from that organization? What do you say to the Parkland victims?"
Rubio asked, “Where are you from? What news outlet?”
Gomez responded, “Sergio Gomez, from Cuba. Granma newspaper.”
Rubio then politely gave him an answer, but soon heated up into an attack on Cuba, Venezuela, and other repressive states which deny their citizens political freedom.
Rubio began with a lesson in American civics:
I’m glad you can come here and freely express yourself and I welcome you. I think this is important because I am willing to answer questions in an open forum where you can have discrepancies. There are people in my country that don’t agree with how the Second Amendment of the Constitution is interpreted. Those people who are in disagreement with my stance on this issue have the right to vote against me. Even though I won the elections, in my country, those individuals who disagree with me on that topic can vote against me. Millions voted against me, but millions more voted in my favor.
Then he went on the offensive:
That’s my greatest desire: my wish is that Cuba, Venezuela, and every country which has differences can decide them at the polls. Not through violence, not through illegitimate political movements. That’s what I wish. At the end of the day I think that in a free society, those who have disagreement with a political stance can vote against that politician. In five years I will have to run again. “Will you continue accepting the money? It’s a direct question.”
It’s simple. In the United States, in comparison to Cuba, we have a free press. The press can question and criticize me all they want, and they do so daily. I’m glad we’re able to hold a debate, because in Cuba you can’t have a debate. The answer is that in the U.S. the people know my stance. We also have transparency on who donates and who doesn’t. Yes, I support the Second Amendment and those people who support that Amendment support me. Those who don’t support it can vote against me. I wish you could also do that in Cuba, because you can’t.