Florida Sen. Marco Rubio slammed President Obama on Wednesday for reaching out to Cuba, a country with "odious leaders" that continues to keep its citizens down with a failed socialist economy.

"The only people who are responsible for the Cuban people's woes are their geriatric rulers, who insist on maintaining a socialist economy that almost all other countries — with the possible exception of North Korea — have realized is a failed relic of the past," the Republican presidential hopeful wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday, referring to the leadership of Raúl Castro and his brother Fidel.

Rubio argued that when China opened up its economy in the 1970s, little changed for the better, such as its poor human rights record. He cited that as an example of how political systems still matter.

"No Communist police state has ever unclenched its fist just because a McDonald's has opened or an embassy has been established," wrote Rubio, a Cuban-American. "When we make engagement with the odious leaders of these countries our foreign policy, we make a Faustian bargain that is contrary to our national values and also to our strategic interests."

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The re-establishment of diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana will not do anything good for the Cuban people either, he argued. Obama announced last week the two countries would soon reopen embassies in each other's countries.

"It is the ruling oligarchs who stand to benefit from Mr. Obama's opening to Cuba, not the Cuban people. It is unfortunate that, after taking a strong if difficult moral stance for many years, we are now empowering those who deny the Cubans their wish to be free and prosperous," Rubio concluded.

Rubio has long been outspoken about the Obama administration's moves over recent months to open diplomatic relations with the Communist island country.

Ironically, he chose the New York Times to voice those opinions now, a newspaper that has attacked him over the high number of traffic citations he has amassed and his personal spending.