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Marco Rubio to oppose State Department official charged with U.S.-Cuba relations

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he will oppose the nomination of Roberta Jacobson to be the assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Jacobson's responsibilites include the U.S. relationship with Cuba. 

Rubio also said he'd oppose the confirmation of Mari Carmen Aponte as ambassador to El Salvador and Adam Namm as ambassador to Ecuador.

Rubio didn't say he'd outright block their nominations -- but did say that he reserves the right to do so. Under the rules of the Senate, a single senator has the ability to block votes on nominees or legislation by placing a so-called "hold" on it. 

"I will oppose these nominees in the Foreign Relations Committee, and reserve my right to block or vote against any other future Western Hemisphere nominees until the Administration takes meaningful action to change its policies," Rubio said. 

Rubio described the Obama administration's policy towards Latin America as one that's been "defined by appeasement, weakness and the alienation of our allies."

"Earlier this year, I encouraged the Administration to seize these nominations as an opportunity to outline a plan to steer U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere towards renewing America’s commitment to promoting democracy and free markets," he said.

Jacobson during her confirmation hearing defended the Obama administration’s policies toward the communist island nation, including policies that allow Cuban-Americans to send more money there.

Jacobson, who appeared earlier this month before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her confirmation hearing, also told senators that the administration would do whatever it could through diplomatic channels to secure the unconditional release of U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who has been imprisoned in Cuba for nearly two years.