- The Washington Times
Monday, January 19, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio, who has emerged as one of the leading critics of President Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba, is inviting the daughter of a prominent Cuban activist to be his official guest at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

The guest of the potential 2016 presidential contender is Rosa María Payá, the daughter of Oswaldo Payá, whose death in an automobile accident along with activist Harold Cepero in 2012 is alleged to have been facilitated by the Cuban government.

“All Oswaldo Payá wanted was a better future for Cuba and the Cuban people, and the Castro regime assassinated him for it,” Mr. Rubio, Florida Republican, said in a statement, adding that he’s “honored” Ms. Payá will be in the U.S. Capitol Tuesday.

“While I disagree with the president’s new Cuba policy, I hope Rosa María Payá’s presence on Tuesday night will at least remind him that her father’s murderers have not been brought to justice, and that the U.S. is now, in fact, sitting at the table with them,” Mr. Rubio said. “I hope the administration takes the opportunity to demand reforms and changes in Cuban behavior before relations are normalized. At the very least, President Obama and his administration should push the Cuban regime to allow an impartial, third party investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Oswaldo and Harold.”

Earlier Monday, the White House announced that one of first lady Michelle Obama’s guests Tuesday evening will be Alan Gross, the American USAID subcontractor freed last month after five years of imprisonment in Cuba as part of a spy swap and as Mr. Obama announced his plan to normalize relations between the U.S. and the communist country.

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