Marco Rubio

Expert Voices

Trump risks escalating Cuba tensions by scrapping baseball deal

Cuban children practice baseball in a field of Havana, on September 17, 2018
Cuban children practice baseball on a field in Havana. Photo: Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration has been threatening to revoke a deal between Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Cuban Baseball Federation, under pressure from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and NSC Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere Mauricio Claver-Carone. The deal would permit MLB to legally recruit Cuban players, thus avoiding the long, treacherous journey that many Cubans have taken to join the league.

Why it matters: The threatened reversal is another example of how, when it comes to U.S.-Cuba policy, the desire for punishment and revenge often prevails over practical and humanitarian considerations. In the eyes of Rubio, Claver-Carone and others, any deal struck with Cuba only serves to legitimize its regime.

Congress to push Trump on Uyghurs

Sens. Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio in 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

The Chinese government has detained more than 1 million Uyghur Muslims in re-education camps. Beijing has put Uyghur children into dozens of orphanages while their parents are incarcerated for their faith and culture. It's one of the world's most shamefully overlooked atrocities, and some members of Congress plan to step up efforts to pressure the administration to hold China accountable.

What we're hearing: Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio plan to introduce this week the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, according to sources with direct knowledge. (They introduced a similar version of the bill late in the last Congress but didn't have time to get it onto the Senate floor.)

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