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Mel Martinez weighs in on Marco Rubio-WaPo dispute

Former Republican Sen. Mel Martinez, himself a Cuban exile, has come to Sen. Marco Rubio's defense in his dispute with a Washington Post article that says Rubio embellished facts about his parents' move from Cuba to the U.S.

Martinez came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1962 at age 15 as part of operation Pedro Pan, which helped about 14,000 Cuban children flee Castro's regime. Martinez served in the U.S. Senate from 2005 to 2009:

"The recent Washington Post story regarding Senator Rubio’s parents and their immigration from Cuba shows a gross lack of understanding about the Cuban exile experience," he said. "The fact is that they would not have left Cuba permanently if not for extreme fear of persecution and in search of freedom, like so many of us did."

"I lived this experience myself in Cuba – through the revolution and the communist takeover. To diminish the courage of Senator Rubio’s parents and to assert their reason for fleeing Cuba was unrelated to the oppression of a tyrannical and cruel communist dictatorship is wrong." 

Meanwhile, the Washingotn Post's ombudsman gave readers a forum to ask questions of the piece's author, Manuel Roig-Franzia, and its editor, Kevin Merida. 


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Hardball on MSNBC devoted a good segment with information that supported the fact that Rubio's family came to Florida before January 1, 1959. They were immigrants and that is a fine thing to be. Many other Latin Americans, such as Mexicans, Venezuelans, etc. come as immigrants. But his family were not Cuban exiles. To be a Cuban exile you had to come as I did after January 1, 1959. Real Cuban exiles should be outraged that this misinformation has been used for political advantage to embellish Mr. Rubio's history, and political acceptability. Glad it has been exposed. This changes so many things!


He's a liar who should resign. Es un mentiroso que debería de renunciar.


Article on Marco Rubio is a gross lack of understanding about the Cuban exile experience. After the communist take over in 1959, the Castro regime closed the island and did not allow cubans living outside the island to return because they were perceived opponents of the regime. So when a country does not allow its citizens to return to the homeland they are exiles.

I lived this experience myself in Cuba through the revolution and the communist takeover so I encourage those who want to assert distinctions or divisions on what is to be a cuban exile to read on the subject before jumping in the wagon with those who want to undermine members of our community who are making a difference in this great nation.

Mark Anderson

Rubio's parents disliked America so much they wanted to return to Cuba, but Castro had taken power. That's why their exiles, right?


I think Rubio lied when he said he got the dates mixed up. You know the dates when you teach college. When you were born Castro was not in power. He got caught.
Mel Martinez got sent here without his family and had a pretty easy life. It was with better off families and he didnt struggle. Then he married a caucasian woman and they adopted kids.
But these are the two "Cubans" Jeb Bush promoted for office.

Robert Jenkins

Valor Robado, Si or No?
Please vote on this matter.

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