Bob Menendez, Enemy of Cuba

While walking down the hall after speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, President Joe Biden hailed flamboyant Sen. Robert Menendez, emphatically expressing his need for a serious talk with him about Cuba. The president’s words were quite audible, yet time has passed and we know nothing about whether that conversation took place, much less what might have been discussed.

As we all know, Biden continues to maintain the cruel sanctions that the despicable Donald Trump imposed on the island. He has also continued to include Cuba in the spurious list published annually by the U.S. government, accusing whomever it chooses of sponsoring terrorism. Biden, who promised in his election campaign to lift those criminal sanctions, has made only very tepid changes. They have essentially continued exactly as they were.

It is only natural that if the president expects to lift all or some of the sanctions, he would talk to Menendez about it. Menendez is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; as such, he is an important player in the country’s international relations. What is incredible is that this man, son of a Cuban immigrant who was born in 1954 in New York, has reached such an elevated position after having been accused of countless charges of corruption and membership in the Mafia. In reality, Menendez should be behind bars rather than chairing a very important Senate committee.

Menendez was denounced by The Daily Caller in 2012 for having hired prostitutes on his frequent trips to the Dominican Republic. The women later claimed they had been paid to lie about their relationships with the senator; however, The Daily Caller claimed that interviews with the women were not the source of its story.

In 2013, it came to light that a Miami grand jury was investigating Menendez for his relationship with a well-known Dominican ophthalmologist named Salomon Melgen. The specialist was a close friend of the senator and one of the most generous donors to his election campaigns. The investigations led to indictments by the U.S. Department of Justice of both Menendez and Melgen in 2015. The charges against Menendez were bribery, fraud and false testimony.

Menendez was accused of exchanging favors with the doctor — of being Melgen’s personal senator. For the sake of length, I won’t describe the kind of favors they exchanged; however, according to the Justice Department, there was a veritable corruption dump between the two, including private jet rides, five-star hotels in Paris, large donations, and on and on and on. A trial was held. The evidence was so irrefutable that the senator himself voluntarily left his seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Yet incredibly, despite all the evidence, a mistrial was declared because the jury could not agree, leaving the judge no choice but to annul the proceedings.

How about that? A man, despite being up to his neck in a corruption case, walks free of all charges because a jury could not make a decision? I truly don’t know why the Department of Justice decided against appealing the case and, instead, dropped all charges against the legislator. Friendships? Political influence? Go figure.

The fact remains that the flamboyant senator is free and doing damage. In 2018 the Senate Select Committee on Ethics severely admonished Menendez for receiving gifts and favors from Melgen without seeking permission.

This man’s life has been dark from an early age. More than 30 years ago, before reaching Capitol Hill, he was involved in numerous scandals in New Jersey, the state he represents in the Senate. He was active in its politics as a very young man, even serving as mayor of Union City, a city full of Cuban immigrants.

Menendez has participated in all the legislation that has been made against Cuba on Capitol Hill and is a staunch enemy of Cuba and its people. And this is the man to whom the president said in public that he wanted to speak with on the subject of Cuba. May God save us all.

About this publication

About Patricia Simoni 182 Articles
I began contributing to Watching America in 2009 and continue to enjoy working with its dedicated translators and editors. Latin America, where I lived and worked for over four years, is of special interest to me. Presently a retiree, I live in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I enjoy the beauty of this rural state and traditional Appalachian fiddling with friends. Working toward the mission of WA, to help those in the U.S. see ourselves as others see us, gives me a sense of purpose.

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