Florida Sen. Marco Rubio panned President Obama's planned March trip to Cuba during Wednesday's Republican presidential town hall.
Rubio told CNN's Anderson Cooper that Obama is making a mistake given that Cuba is still an "anti-American communist dictatorship" and not a free nation yet.
"Not if it's not a free Cuba," Rubio said when asked if he would do the same. "It's not just a communist dictatorship. It's an anti-American communist dictatorship. The Cuban government three years ago helped North Korea evade U.N. sanctions. They were caught trying to ship missile parts to North Korea."
Rubio also told Cooper that the Cuban government "harbors hundreds of fugitives of American justice," laying out multiple examples before panning the government as a "repressive regime."
"They are a repressive regime. There's no election in Cuba. There's no choice in Cuba. I want the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba to change, but it has to be reciprocal," Rubio said, using Burma (now Myanmar) as an example.
"The U.S. opened up to [Burma], but they made political changes — and today, the former minority party is now the majority party in their legislative body because our change towards them was conditional on their change towards their people," Rubio said. "He didn't ask that of the Cuban government."
"Today, a year and two months after the opening of Cuba, the Cuban government remains as oppressive. But now, they have access to millions if not billions of dollars in resources that they didn't have access to," Rubio said.
When told by the CNN host that Obama plans to make the trip next month, Rubio simply said "he's probably not going to invite me."
Rubio has long been an outspoken opponent of renewed relations with Cuba until such changes in the government are made. He is also one of three Cuban-Americans in the U.S. Senate, along with fellow GOP candidate Ted Cruz and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.