NPR this afternoon cited Sen. Marco Rubio's piece Friday in Politico -- a strident reaction to allegations he embellished his parents' Cuban exile story -- and called it a "narrative dramatically different from the one he provided to NPR in late 2009."
At issue, in part, is Rubio's telling of why his mother returned to Cuba.
In Politico, Rubio wrote: "In February 1961, my mother took my older siblings to Cuba with the intention of moving back. My father was wrapping up family matters in Miami and was set to join them. But after a few weeks, it became clear that the change happening in Cuba was not for the better. It was communism. So in late March 1961, just weeks before the Bay of Pigs Invasion, my mother and siblings left Cuba and my family settled permanently in the United States.
In the 2009 interview, Rubio said his mother went back to Cuba to tend for his grandfather, who had been hit by a bus. (Her father came to the U.S. in the 1950s, Rubio's office acknowledged to NPR, but went back at some point.)
"And in Cuba at the time, I mean, when you were in the hospital, they didn't have, like, you know, meals or anything. Your family had to bring the food and they had to take care of you. So my mom went back with my sister and my brother to take care of her father in 1960 and my dad stayed behind working.
"Well, when the time came to come home, the Cuban government wouldn't let her, so my dad was here in Miami working and desperate because his family - they would let my sister come because she was a U.S. citizen, but they wouldn't let my brother and my mom come. And they would go to the airport every day for nine months, waiting to be let go and finally were able to come, so it was very frightening. And I think that's when they knew for sure that that's not the place they wanted to be."
Records provided by Rubio's office show his mother, Oria, entered Havana on Feb. 27, 1961, and she left on March 29, 1961.
Rubio says she never returned, and that his parents could not because of Castro, making them exiles.
-- Alex Leary