Despite allegations that Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez had sex with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic on several occasions in recent years, he has been a persistent critic of the Cuban regime for economic conditions that have led to widespread prostitution among young people.
“The average Cuban worker lives on an income of less than $1 a day,” Menendez said during a March 2, 2009 Senate floor speech, arguing that the communist Cuban dictatorship’s policies caused nationwide poverty.
“This poverty has an enormous cost,” the son of Cuban emigres to the U.S. explained. “The widespread desperation of families has forced far too many young girls and boys into becoming sex workers, even though defenders of the Revolution constantly cite the elimination of prostitution as one of its supposed accomplishments.”
“In fact,” Menendez noted. “A few years ago Cuba was listed by Voyeur Magazine as the sex tourism hot spot of the world. So much for that success of the revolution of eliminating prostitution.” (RELATED VIDEO: In Congress, Menendez made impassioned plea to end sex trafficking)
When he served in the House of Representatives, Menendez criticized fellow congressman — and now fellow senator — Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, for proposing to lift travel restrictions and allow Americans to visit Cuba.
Flake’s amendment, he said on Dec. 3, 2003, was a “failed policy when prostitution flourishes in Cuba so that foreign tourists can take advantage of Cuban women.”
Last year Menendez co-sponsored a Senate resolution condemning Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army for forcing children into prostitution.
Yet he is alleged to have participated in the illicit sex trade himself as early as 2009, according to accusations The Daily Caller was the first to publish. (RELATED VIDEO: Women say Menendez paid them for sex in the Dominican Republic)
Menendez has denied that claim, dismissing the videotaped interviews of two Dominican women who said in November that they were paid to have sex with him.
More recently, written testimonials and interview transcripts published online underscore similar allegations from more women — including one who claims she was as young as 16 when she was paid to have sex with Menendez and Dr. Salomon Melgen, his longtime friend and campaign donor. (RELATED: Emails show FBI investigating Menendez for sex with underage Dominican prostitutes)
Federal law enforcement raided Melgen’s flagship Florida eye clinic on Tuesday night in an operation an FBI source told TheDC was linked to Menendez.