Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that he is “deeply concerned” that the leadership of the Catholic Church has “negotiated themselves a space of operation” in Cuba “in exchange for looking the other way,” and expressed concern that Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming trip to the island may “reinforce that arrangement.”
Rubio, a Catholic, said during a discussion at The Heritage Foundation that the Catholic Church has “negotiated a political space for themselves in exchange for their moral imperative.”
Volunteering an example, Rubio said, “last week… the church invited — the cardinal invited — Castro thugs to come into the church and remove people.”
Rubio also denounced the church for “actively participating in exiling dissidents,” sarcastically adding, “somehow exiling someone to Spain is a humanitarian measure.” (SEE ALSO: Marco Rubio was a Mormon once)
During the event, Rubio discussed Cuban oil exploration and expressed concern that the Communist government may in the future find a new source of revenue in oil exports. He said that a greater concern, however, is the potentially devastating effect of a Cuban oil spill on his state’s environment.
Videography by Sarah Hofmann