Senator Marco Rubio’s behavior over the nomination of now confirmed Ambassador Roberta Jacobson to lead the Mexico U.S. Embassy was nothing but the inherited bitterness and hatred Cuban exiles in the U.S. still boast against the Castro Brothers regime.
Definitely, but not naturally since he’s not Cuban by birth, Marco Rubio was reflecting the ill feelings of the past as represented by his parents who had to leave everything behind on the island in order to find a new way of life.
As a U.S. citizen of Cuban descent, Senator Rubio should have been able to read that after 57 years of Communist dictatorship the people of Cuba have changed and are ready to open up to the world and keep at least part of their socialist background now deeply imbedded in their psyche.
We’re talking about two very different generations, that of the old exiles, and now their children. Hatred is inheritable and in many cases of Cuban Americans they absorbed from their parents the resentment left behind by the Cuban revolution of the 1950s.
The past generations of still resentful Cubans have not seen that the lights have changed and hence the gates were fully open for the State Department to operate, after last year’s proper diplomatic negotiations to clear the way for an eventual lifting of the economic blockade.
The thawing of the iceberg freezing relations came last August after Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cuba and reopened the old embassy in an event that had positive repercussions throughout Latin America.
After this event I had the opportunity to speak to poet Richard Blanco, of Cuban descent and who read one his poems at the official embassy opening, and unlike Rubio — both about the same age — he was very happy to see the island and meet cousins he’d only heard about. Rubio never went this far, well maybe, but in the opening direction.
Ten months ago just as he launched his failed bid for the GOP nomination for presidential candidate, Rubio used the occasion to lash out in anger against Roberta Jacobson’s nomination disqualifying her precisely for having successfully negotiated the renewed initiation of diplomatic relations.
Now finally Rubio had no political choice than to give his reticent position because perhaps he was punishing President Barack Obama for nominating what he considered “an evasive” negotiating style.
But from the Mexican standpoint, what Senator Rubio was doing was not punishing Obama or his nominee Jacobson, but joining with political cronies Cruz and Trump in the onslaught against Mexico as a whole, which Secretary John Kerry considered his attitude as “a punishment to Mexico literally for no reason at all.”
There’s been no U.S. Ambassador to Mexico since last August when Earl Anthony Wayne opted for retirement and withdrew from the post.
But let’s not forget also that previous to Ambassador Roberta Jacobson, Marìa Echaveste — once a Hillary Clinton to aide — was nominated to the position and after five months she had to cancel her candidacy apparently not for diplomatic reasons, as is in Jacobson’s case, but for her family’s conflicts of interest.
But unlike Echaveste, who had more of a Democratic Party than a diplomatic career, Jacobson is fully familiar with Mexico. From 2002 to 2007 she was director of the Mexican Affairs Bureau and from 2007 to 2010 she was U.S. representative for the North American Free Trade Agreement. She also was a direct participant in the now ailing Merida Initiative, a document now badly needing fresh air given the legal changes made to drugs, specifically marijuana.
In any case, Senator Marco Rubio finally decided to stop his blockade of the U.S. relations towards Mexico and now Ambassador Jacobson seems to be one step closer to clinching the nomination.
But wait, there’s still one voting session pending in the U.S. Senate which may just need further negotiating by Secretary Kerry.
Till then, cross your fingers because both Mexico and the U.S. need experienced diplomats at the helm of the embassies.