Marco Rubio's Mother, Oriales Garcia Rubio, Is Seriously Inspiring & Never Lets Him Forget His Roots
The humble upbringing of Marco Rubio, the son of two Cuban immigrants has come up since day one of his campaign, but he primarily uses his father's occupation as a bartender to relate to the American people, leaving one important question — what role does his mother, Oriales Garcia Rubio, play? Oriales has reminded her youngest son of an important part of his family's true narrative — his Cuban roots — and how he needs to take that heritage into consideration in political office.
At a 2012 Republican National Convention, Rubio extrapolated upon his father's history in particular, omitting his mother's story from the broader American narrative he has created.
He stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room. That journey, from behind that bar to behind this podium, goes to the essence of the American miracle.
Well, Oriales Rubio had a big hand in that journey as well. The New York Times explains that most of Rubio's memories of Cuba and his family heritage come from stories told by his mother. According to the article, Oriales Rubio had a trying childhood after her father, struck with polio from childhood, found himself further injured in a bus accident. Following her father's best judgment, Rubio moved with her family to Havana's housing projects.
TIME magazine provides further details her living conditions in Cuba during the 1930s. One of a family of nine, she lived in a one-bedroom home with a dirt floor, crafting dolls out of glass bottles, and pondering how she would become an actress one day. Needless to say, Oriales Rubio wants her son sympathize with immigrants and take into account their toilsome histories — something the GOP candidates rarely choose to do.
According to the same TIME article, Rubio's mother left him a voicemail in 2012 expressing her concerns and calling for a more empathetic solution to illegal immigration.
Tony [a family nickname], some loving advice from the person who cares for you most in the world ... Don't mess with the immigrants, my son. Please, don't mess with them ... They're human beings just like us, and they came for the same reasons we came. To work. To improve their lives. So please, don't mess with them.
Rubio took his mother's words seriously and told TIME that she reminded him of the oft-ignored humanity that dwell underneath the surface of immigration reform.
Oriales Rubio moved with her husband to America in 1956, well before Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba, and didn't apply for citizenship until 1975. Oriales Rubio returned to her home country at least four times before becoming naturalized and hoped to one day, like so many other immigrants who have left their true home, be able to live there with her children. Marco Rubio may primarily focus on his father's transition from Cuba to America, but Oriales Rubio serves as her youngest son's most immediate reminder of his immigrant past and Cuban heritage.