Several Republican Senators led by the Cuban American Marco Rubio from Florida, have radicalized their arguments to maintain the blockade against the designation of the Dominican Julissa Reynoso who served in the same diplomatic post in Uruguay during the Barack Obama administration, and recently head of the first lady Jill Biden’s cabinet, accusing her of being a Castroist and a communist.
Reynoso, fEu Undersecretary of the State Department for the Western Hemisphere, which includes Latin America and the Caribbean, where he shone for a commendable work also in the Obama administration.
The Dominican, a graduate of several of the most prestigious universities in the world, has earned the respect and admiration of the Democratic national leadership, the Dominican diaspora, and until now she has not been inconsiderate or accused by any political sector, including Republicans.
Rubio also questions the appointment of Nicholas Burns as ambassador to China, a position that is delaying the government’s diplomatic scheme in Washington.
Faced with criticism for his opposition, the legislator, the son of Cubans exiled in Miami and born and raised in Florida, is radicalizing his decision and using other colleagues in recent sessions of the Senate after the statement released on November 16.
One of them is Senator Ted Cruz from Texas.
Rubio says Julissa would allow Spain to turn a blind eye to socialist regimes in Latin America and that the United States cannot use her as a proxy for dictators.
“She is a supporter and apologist for the Castro regime,” Rubio argues in a statement.
“Reynoso would not pressure Spain to increase pressure against authoritarian regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela,” says the senator.
“Possibly she would let Spain turn a blind eye to these regimes. The United States needs someone who is committed to freedom and human rights on the continent, not a delegate from the dictators, ”he said.
He added that Reynoso was involved in the past in helping exchange members of the Cuban regime’s intelligence service imprisoned while serving time in a US prison during the Obama administration’s thaw policy.
“This raises serious doubts about Reynoso’s character and judgment,” said Rubio, referring to the three years (2009-2017) that the Dominican was the main State Department official for Latin America, managing US foreign policies towards Cuba during the so-called thaw years.
At the hearing to consider Reynoso’s nomination in early October, several senators criticized the government of Spanish President Pedro Sánchez for opposing the White House’s position against Cuba.
Led by Rubio, Republican senators pressured Reynoso to influence the Spanish government on Latin American issues.
Rubio is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and one of the main members of that chamber’s Foreign Relations Committee.
To be confirmed as ambassador to Spain, Reynoso’s nomination was accepted in a vote of the Foreign Relations Commission and in the full Senate.
The blockade led by Rubio forces his nomination not to be voted on in plenary while it remains stagnant.
Rubio, Cruz and Josh Hawley of Missouri are keeping the confirmation of dozens of ambassadors, assistant secretaries of state and other high-level foreign affairs appointments on lockdown.
In Burns’ case, he was expected to receive broad bipartisan support, including that of Cruz.
Burns is one of the most notorious permanent figures in American diplomacy who has served both Democratic and Republican presidents.
He is considered a diplomat with an impeccable career and great balance.
“Nicholas Burns has a long career in public service, but it is a career defined by a lack of understanding of the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party,” Rubio said.
Now, Rubio is branded as a “legislative stalker.”