Republican presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio isn’t necessarily known for carrying the Haiti agenda in Congress.
But he stepped out on a limb this week as Haitians waited to learn which candidates would make the final cut for the country’s Oct. 25 presidential ballot.
His actions came Tuesday in the form of several Haiti election-related amendments that unanimously passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rubio’s action left some wondering whether the senator was pitch hitting for a candidate who was trying to avoid being disqualified from the race, or if he was trying to bolster his Haiti expertise.
“Sen. Rubio believes that it is important that the Haitian people have the opportunity to freely and fairly choose their leaders,” said Rubio spokeswoman Brooke Sammon. “The Senator is pleased that the State Department will now be required to continue to update Congress on the status of Haiti’s elections to help ensure that the Haitian government is responsive to the needs of its citizens.”
The Rubio-sponsored amendments, among other things, conditions the release of U.S. funds to Haiti on the State Department’s reporting of whether the upcoming Haitian elections are free, fair and responsive to the people of Haiti, and on descriptions of “attempts to disqualify candidates” from office for “political reasons.”