MIAMI, Fla. - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, son of Cuban immigrants, will visit Cuba for the first time Tuesday when he travels to the U.S. Naval station in Guantanamo Bay -- a trip that will help boost his foreign policy credentials at a time when he continues to be mentioned as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees, will tour the base and meet with the commander of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Navy Rear Admiral David Woods.
"This visit will allow Sen. Rubio an opportunity to better understand the role Guantanamo Bay plays in U.S. detention operations, and examine how the military commission process for trying the terrorists housed there is proceeding," Rubio spokesman Alex Conant wrote in an email.
During his visit to GITMO, Rubio will tour the facility where alleged Al-Qaeda terrorists are being detained and where military tribunals of the detainees, including the arraignment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the purported 9/11 plot mastermind, began earlier this month.
Here is the itinerary from Rubio's Senate Office:
As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Rubio is traveling to Guantanamo Bay to conduct oversight of the facility, tour the base, and meet with the commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay. This visit will allow Sen. Rubio an opportunity to better understand the role Guantanamo Bay plays in US detention operations, and examine how the military commission process for trying the terrorists housed there is proceeding.
Additionally, Sen. Rubio will be able to hear the Navy's perspective on the strategic value of the base to the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. During his visit to GITMO, he will tour the Expeditionary Legal Complex (ELC), were military tribunals of detainees recently began. The ELC provides a secure location to secure and try detainees charged by the United States government. It provides full access to sensitive and classified information, full access to defense lawyers and prosecution, and full media access by the press. Rubio will see the role this complex plays as the venue where classified information taken from the battle field is presented.From there, Senator Rubio will be taken to the Joint Task Force (JTF) Guantanamo headquarters where he will receive an intelligence overview and engage in open discussions with JTF personnel about the various functions conducted there, including intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination in support of ongoing overseas contingency operations and to the Office of Military Commissions.
He will then meet with the Joint Task Force Commander - Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harbeson, U.S. Navy.
Finally, he will tour Camp VI, the building in which detainees are actually held. After this portion, he will conclude his trip and depart.
He will be returning to Miami on Tuesday at approximately 5:15 pm EDT.