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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio draws more scrutiny over his parents' flight from Cuba



rubio.jpgUPDATED 7:07 p.m. with statement from Rubio. See the jump.

The Washington Post has a broader take on a part of our story today on Sen. Marco Rubio, that the narrative of his Cuban-exile parents does not stand up to the facts.

The supposed flight of Rubio’s parents has been at the core of the young senator’s political identity, both before and after his stunning, Tea Party-propelled victory in last year’s race for the U.S. Senate. Rubio — now considered a prospective 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee and a possible future presidential candidate — mentions his parents in the second sentence of the official biography on his Senate Web site. It says Mario and Oriales Rubio “came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.” ... The real story of his parents’ migration appears to be a more conventional immigrant narrative, a couple who came to the United States seeking a better life. In the year they arrived in Florida, the future Marxist dictator was in Mexico plotting a quixotic return to Cuba.

Story here.

Questions about Rubio were first raised, it seems, by a birther named Charles Kerchner, who accused the senator of embellishing his parents' story after seeing they came to the country in 1956, before Castro took over.  "I think he's been riding on this, 'I’m the descendant of Cuban refugees who escaped Communist Cuba' mantra," Kerchner told the St. Petersburg Times this week. "It’s not true.”

Rubio defended his characterization of his parents' story in today's Times story. "Anyone who can’t return to their natural country is an exile, if you can’t return for political reasons," he said. Below, his statement regarding the Post story.

Statement from Rubio:

“To suggest my family’s story is embellished for political gain is outrageous. The dates I have given regarding my family’s history have always been based on my parents’ recollections of events that occurred over 55 years ago and which were relayed to me by them more than two decades after they happened. I was not made aware of the exact dates until very recently.

“What’s important is that the essential facts of my family’s story are completely accurate.  My parents are from Cuba. After arriving in the United States, they had always hoped to one day return to Cuba if things improved and traveled there several times.  In 1961, my mother and older siblings did in fact return to Cuba while my father stayed behind wrapping up the family’s matters in the U.S.  After just a few weeks living there, she fully realized the true nature of the direction Castro was taking Cuba and returned to the United States one month later, never to return.

“They were exiled from the home country they tried to return to because they did not want to live under communism. That is an undisputed fact and to suggest otherwise is outrageous.”

[Last modified: Thursday, October 20, 2011 7:36pm]


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