Rubio: Castro was 'evil, murderous dictator'

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke to WPEC from Capitol Hill on September 14, 2016. (SBG)

ORLANDO, Fla. (WPEC) - U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio remembered Fidel Castro as “an evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery and suffering on his own people.”

Rubio (R-Fla.) said Castro’s death “does not mean freedom for the Cuban people or justice for the democratic activists, religious leaders and political opponents he and his brother have jailed and persecuted.

“The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not,” Rudio said. “And one thing is clear, history will not absolve Fidel Castro; it will remember him as an evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery and suffering on his own people.”

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) urged the U.S. to “continue to press hard against his brother Raul and continue to support the Cuban people until he provides basic rights and freedoms to all the people of Cuba.

“In the meantime, the new Trump administration should continue the policy of opening travel and communication with Cuba,” Nelson said.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott said Castro’s death should bring in an era of freedom to Cuba.

“After decades of oppression, the Cuban people deserve freedom, peace and democracy, “ Scott said. “I have met so many Cubans who have come to Florida to flee the tyranny, brutality and communism of the Castro brothers’ oppressive regime, and now is the time to look at policy changes that will demand democracy in Cuba.”

Scott said he talked to President-Elect Donald Trump on Saturday morning and told him that the “State of Florida will help his administration in any way to support a pro-democracy movement in Cuba.”

Three Cuban-American congressional members from Florida issued a joint statement early Saturday morning after hearing the news of Fidel Castro's death.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo said in a news release that a new chapter in Cuba's history must be written and political reforms are essential for helping with free elections and human rights on the island.

"Fidel's apologists around the world can help to restore freedom and human rights for Cuba by joining the call for the new regime to free the hundreds of freedom fighters and pro-democracy activists still locked in Castro's prisons," wrote Ros-Lehtinen.

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