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Topics in the News: Cuba


Alejandro Mayorkas on Cuba: (Principles & Values Jan 22, 2021)
Left Cuba with parents as a child to escape communism

Mayorkas was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to California as a child. If confirmed, he would be the first immigrant to serve as head of the Department of Homeland Security. "My father and mother brought me to this country to escape communism and to provide me with the security, opportunity, and pride that American citizenship brings to each of us," he said in his opening statement at his confirmation hearing.
Click for Alejandro Mayorkas on other issues.   Source: Fox News on DHS Secretary Confirmation Hearings

Alejandro Mayorkas on Cuba: (Principles & Values Jan 10, 2021)
Views himself as a proud member of the Jewish community

William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, said that Mayorkas "discussed his personal connection to the Jewish story of America--as a refugee from Cuba and his parents as refugees from Europe." He mentioned his current membership at Adas Israel Congregation. Mayorkas "views himself as a proud member of the Jewish community," noted Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union's executive director for public policy.
Click for Alejandro Mayorkas on other issues.   Source: Forward magazine on DHS Secretary Confirmation Hearings

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Mar 15, 2020)
2016: Cuba made progress in education and healthcare

Q: V.P. Biden has criticized Sen. Sanders for embracing [Cuban dictator Fidel] Castro's education system, but in 2016 President Obama said Cuba made "great progress in educating young people and that its healthcare system is a huge achievement that they should be congratulated for." How is that different from what Senator Sanders has said?

Joe Biden: [Obama] was trying to change Cuban policies so the Cuban people would get out from under the thumb of the Castro and his brother. That is, to change the policy so that we can impact on Cuba's policy by getting them opened up.

Bernie Sanders: Barack Obama was more generous in his praise of what Cuba did in healthcare and education than I was. I was talking about a program 60 years ago in the first year of the Castro revolution.

Biden:Bernie's notion about how he embraces folks like Cuba and the former Soviet Union and talks about the good things they did in China is absolutely contrary to every message we want to send the rest of the world.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 11th Democratic primary debate (Biden-Sanders one-on-one)

Bernie Sanders on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Feb 24, 2020)
Cuba: Teaching people to read and write is a good thing

[Defending previous comments that Fidel Castro's Communist takeover of Cuba had positive aspects]: When Castro first came to power, you know what he did? He initiated a major literacy program. There was a lot of folks in Cuba at that point who were regimes all over the world, including Cuba, including Nicaragua, including Saudi Arabia, including China, including Russia. I happen to believe in democracy, not authoritarianism.

But, you know, China is an authoritarian country, becoming more and more authoritarian. But can anyone deny that they have taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in history? Do I get criticized because I say that? That's the truth. So that is the fact. End of discussion.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: CNN Town Hall on eve of 2020 South Carolina primary

Donald Trump on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Feb 4, 2020)
Restore democracy in Cuba & Venezuela

As we restore American leadership throughout the world, we are once again standing up for freedom in our hemisphere. That is why my Administration reversed the failing policies of the previous administration on Cuba. We are supporting the hopes of Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans to restore democracy. The United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. Maduro is an illegitimate ruler, a tyrant who brutalizes his people. But Maduro's grip of tyranny will be smashed and broken. Here this evening is a man who carries with him the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of all Venezuelans. Joining us in the gallery is the true and legitimate President of Venezuela, Juan Guaido. Mr. President, please take this message back to your homeland. All Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom! Socialism destroys nations. But always remember, freedom unifies the soul.
Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: 2020 State of the Union address to Congress

Mike Bloomberg on Cuba: (Families & Children Nov 24, 2019)
Get cities to hike taxes on sugary drinks

Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said about Bloomberg to NBC News, "I'm all for it. I think he will be good for the Democratic field." Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, considered running for president in 2020 himself. "He is now the only candidate that has actually done something to impact gun violence. He is the only candidate that has done something to deal with reducing health care costs by helping to keep people healthy via sugar associated taxes," Cuban said, stopping short of an endorsement. "Adding the substance he brings on these issues is a net positive in my opinion."

He's also funded campaigns to get cities to hike taxes on sugary drinks, cigarettes, and trans fats-- efforts that have earned him praise from public health advocates, but also scorn and mockery from others as a "stereotypically laughable example of a liberal nanny state," as Time magazine once put it.

Click for Mike Bloomberg on other issues.   Source: NBC News, "2020 Election," on 2020 Democratic primary

Bill Weld on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Oct 3, 2019)
Multi-party talks to resolve Venezuelan situation

Q: What additional steps should the U.S. take to remove Nicolas Maduro from power in Venezuela?

A: We have to go through Cuba, China and Russia to rationalize the situation in Venezuela. Most of the top decision makers there are Cuban, which has hollowed out Venezuela's government, & the spillover into our ally Colombia has been dramatic. I would propose multi-party talks, in which the dynamic new Pres. Duque of Colombia, who greatly impressed me recently in Cartagena, could perhaps play a role.

Click for Bill Weld on other issues.   Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2020 presidential hopefuls

Bill de Blasio on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Aug 12, 2019)
1980s: supported Sandinista National Liberation Front

Before turning his focus to New York City politics, his first interest was Central America. During the 1980s he supported the Sandinista National Liberation Front and opposed the Reagan administration's support for the contras. He and his wife honeymooned in Cuba, which was illegal for Americans at the time.
Click for Bill de Blasio on other issues.   Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2019 Democratic primary

Seth Moulton on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Jul 30, 2019)
Venezuela: US should not try to be world's policeman

The Trump administration's approach to Venezuela is a throwback to the Cold War: intervene in support of a coup, blame Cuba for everything, and in the process, make America a foil for Maduro to use with his people as the reason his economy is faltering. We should continue to sanction Venezuelan leaders and encourage the opposition. But if my time in the Marines taught me anything, it's that the United States is not the world's policeman. Nor should we try to be.
Click for Seth Moulton on other issues.   Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2020 presidential primary

Steve Bullock on Cuba: (Foreign Policy May 15, 2019)
Block foreign influence on elections; end Cuba embargo

Bullock has little foreign policy experience, but he has called for keeping U.S. elections free from foreign influence. Bullock has also advocated for ending the trade embargo with Cuba. He declined to discuss his views on the war in Afghanistan during a visit there in 2013, saying he was in the country to learn about its issues and that his focus as governor was on jobs and economic development in Montana, not international affairs.
Click for Steve Bullock on other issues.   Source: PBS News Hour 2020, "Where the candidate stands on 9 issues"

Beto O`Rourke on Cuba: (Technology Apr 18, 2019)
Invest in green research via national labs & universities

Q: Do you support increasing federal funding for clean-energy research?

O'Rourke: We would invest in more research through our national labs, universities and incubators and in the scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, the women and men who will do the work day in and day out. Not only must we emit less greenhouse gases, we must plant things that absorb greenhouse gases, and give our farmers a better harvest, and invest in the technologies to allow us to claim some that are in the air now. We must invent and improve our grid's ability to save, store and then sell electricity from turbines and panels throughout the day--no matter where the sun is, at a given time, or whether the wind is blowing. We can build with steel and cement that's better for our air; ship and haul cargo to far-away places with less or different fuel; reconfigure the last mile of energy and transportation in how it functions."

Click for Beto O`Rourke on other issues.   Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com)

Nikki Haley on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Dec 13, 2018)
Obama was wrong to abstain on Cuba's anti-US resolution

She is disdainful of where the United States was at the end of Obama's tenure. "For example, right before I came in, there was a Cuban-sponsored anti-American resolution." That would be the evergreen condemnation of the U.S. embargo of Cuba. In the fall of 2016, when the vote came up, "The United States abstained," Haley recounts, "It blamed America for all of Cuba's problems, and we just... abstained."
Click for Nikki Haley on other issues.   Source: The Washington Examiner on Trump Cabinet

Pope Francis on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Jun 20, 2018)
Saddened by US restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba

Pope Francis said he was saddened by Trump's decision last year to implement new restrictions on American travel and trade with Cuba. The move rolled back his predecessor President Barack Obama's opening to the island nation. That deal, which the Vatican helped broker, "was a good step forward", the pope said.
Click for Pope Francis on other issues.   Source: Reuters on 2018 Trump Administration

Donald Trump on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Jan 30, 2018)
Sanctions on Communist dictators in North Korea & Cuba

My Administration has imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela. But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.

North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening.

Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position. We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: 2018 State of the Union address

Mike Pence on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Oct 14, 2016)
Reverse Obama's opening of Cuba; restore the embargo

Mike Pence declared to a roomful of Miami Republicans night that the Trump administration would maintain the U.S. embargo against Cuba upon entering office. "Let me make a promise to you: When Donald Trump and I take to the White House, we will reverse Barack Obama's executive order on Cuba," Pence said. "We will support a continuation of the embargo until we see real political freedom in that nation once and for all."

President Obama's executive actions, in part, have lifted a series of restrictions on Cuba, opened a U.S. embassy in the country and established travel and business between the two nations. He issued additional directives to further loosen restrictions aimed at increasing trade with the island nation.

"Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would lift the embargo completely and normalize relations with Cuba for nothing in return," Pence said. He continued: "The truth of the matter is if they could open it up all the way, they would."

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: NBC News on 2016 vice-presidential hopefuls

Ted Cruz on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Mar 10, 2016)
Break diplomatic relations with Cuba

Q: On Cuba relations?

Donald TRUMP: Every single aspect of this deal is in Cuba's favor. I would probably have the embassy closed until such time as a really good deal was struck.

Q [to CRUZ]: Would you reverse course and once again break diplomatic relations with Cuba?

CRUZ: Yes, I would. And this highlights a real choice for Republican primary voters. Do you want to continue on the same basic trajectory as the last 7 years of the Obama foreign policy? When it comes to Cuba, [a deal] negotiated b Hillary Clinton and John Kerry? There's a real difference between us. Donald supported Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. And what he said right now is that he agrees in principle with what they're doing. The only thing he thinks is that they should negotiate a little bit better deals, they should be more effective. I have a fundamental disagreement and I think most Republicans and most Americans do, that we shouldn't be allowing billions of dollars to go to nations that hate us, like Cuba.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: 2016 GOP primary debate in Miami

Hillary Clinton on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Mar 9, 2016)
Talk with dissidents but Castros are dictators

Q: Your position on Cuba?

SANDERS: I think we have got to end the embargo. I believe that we should move towards full and normalized political relations with Cuba. I think it will be a good thing for the Cuban people. It will enable them, I think when they see people coming into their country from the United States, move in a more democratic direction, which is what I want to see.

CLINTON: I told the president that I hoped he would be able to move toward diplomatic relations with Cuba. And there are no better ambassadors for freedom, democracy and economic opportunity than Cuban Americans. I'm looking forward to following the president's trip. I think meeting with dissidents is important. The Cuban people deserve be able to move towards democracy where they pick their own leads. Both Castros have to be considered authoritarian and dictatorial because they are not freely chosen by the people. I hope someday there will be leaders who are chosen by the Cuban people.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami

Bernie Sanders on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Mar 9, 2016)
Opposed Monroe Doctrine interventionism in Latin America

Q: Please explain what is the difference between the socialism that you profess and the socialism in Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela.

SANDERS: The US was wrong to try to invade Cuba; the US was wrong trying to support people to overthrow the Nicaraguan government; the US was wrong trying to overthrow, in 1954, the democratically elected government of Guatemala. Throughout the history of our relationship with Latin America we've operated under the so-called Monroe Doctrine, and that said the US had the right do anything that they wanted to do in Latin America. So I actually went to Nicaragua and I very shortly opposed the Reagan administration's efforts to overthrow that government. And I strongly opposed Henry Kissinger and the overthrow of the government of Salvador Allende in Chile. I think the US should be working with governments around the world, not get involved in regime change. And all of these actions in Latin America brought forth a lot of very strong anti-American sentiments.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami

Bernie Sanders on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Mar 9, 2016)
Ending embargo with Cuba is right step

Q: Your position on Cuba?

CLINTON: I told the president that I hoped he would be able to move toward diplomatic relations with Cuba. And there are no better ambassadors for freedom, democracy and economic opportunity than Cuban Americans. I'm looking forward to following the president's trip. I think meeting with dissidents is important. The Cuban people deserve be able to move towards democracy where they pick their own leads. Both Castros have to be considered authoritarian and dictatorial because they are not freely chosen by the people. I hope someday there will be leaders who are chosen by the Cuban people.

SANDERS: I think we have got to end the embargo. I believe that we should move towards full and normalized political relations with Cuba. I think it will be a good thing for the Cuban people. It will enable them, I think when they see people coming into their country from the United States, move in a more democratic direction, which is what I want to see.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami

Ted Cruz on Cuba: (Principles & Values Feb 25, 2016)
I hear, "I didn't vote for you but you did what you said"

Texas provided my family with hope. Here, my mom became the first in her family ever to go to college. Here, my dad fled Cuba and washed dishes, making 50 cents an hour to pay his way through the University of Texas. When I ran for Senate, I promised 27 million Texans I would fight for you every day, and not for the Washington bosses. As I travel the state, Democrats tell me I didn't vote for you, but you're doing what you said you would do. As president, I will do the same.
Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary

Hillary Clinton on Cuba: (Homeland Security Feb 23, 2016)
Close Guantanamo detention center

Hillary Clinton said that she backed President Obama's effort to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center but stressed the terrorist suspects would not necessarily be transferred to a military jail: "The president hasn't made any decisions about where the transfers will go," Clinton said in South Carolina.

Clinton was put on the spot when the president announced a new plan to shut down the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer dozens of high-risk terrorist detainees to maximum security prisons in the United States, which could include the military facility in South Carolina. The plan immediately hit opposition from Republicans in Congress, who cited longstanding bipartisan opposition to bringing captured terrorists to the US.

"The president is trying to figure out what to do with people who are too dangerous to be released," Clinton said. "All I can hope is that the Congress will work with him."

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Washington Times, "Clinton backs GITMO closure"

Donald Trump on Cuba: (Homeland Security Feb 23, 2016)
Keep Gitmo open, and load it up with bad dudes

Donald Trump promised to keep open the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, then riffed on ways that he could do it on the cheap: "This morning I watched President Obama talking about Gitmo," said Trump. "Guantanamo Bay--which by the way, we are keeping open! And we're going to load it up with some bad dudes. We're going to load it up."

Trump then mused about one of the Obama administration's reasons for trying to shut the prison down: "Here's the thing I didn't understand," he said. "We spend $40 million a month on maintaining this place? Now, think of it--$40 million a month! What do we have left in there, like, a hundred people, or something? And we're spending $40 million? I would guarantee you I could do it for a tiny, tiny fraction. I don't mean $39 million. I mean maybe $5 million, maybe $3 million. Maybe, like, peanuts."

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Washington Post, "Cuba should take over Guantanamo"

Ted Cruz on Cuba: (Welfare & Poverty Feb 13, 2016)
Regulations like ObamaCare lead to layoffs of the poorest

Q: How you have been in your campaign a warrior for the poor?

CRUZ: The people who have been hurt the most in the Obama economy have been the most vulnerable. Big government, massive regulation, don't work. Small businesses are the heart of the economy. My dad fled Cuba in 1957. He was 18. He washed dishes making 50 cents an hour. Today, my dad is a pastor. If we had ObamaCare in place then, the odds are high my father would have been laid off. We need to lift the burdens on small businesses.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina

Rand Paul on Cuba: (Homeland Security Jan 28, 2016)
Let's get warrants the old-fashioned way: via 4th Amendment

Sen. Rand PAUL: Ted Cruz said he was for NSA reform, but then he told Marco Rubio, "no, no, no, I voted for the bill because I'm for the government collecting 100% of your cell phone records."

RUBIO: When I'm president we are going to rebuild our intelligence capabilities. And they're going to tell us where the terrorists are. And if we capture any of these ISIS killers alive, they are going to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and we're going to find out everything they know.

PAUL: The bulk collection of your phone data, the invasion of your privacy did not stop one terrorist attack. I don't think you have to give up your liberty for a false sense of security. When we look at this bulk collection, the court has looked at this. Even the court declared it to be illegal. If we want to collect the records of terrorists, let's do it the old fashioned way. Let's use the Fourth Amendment. Let's put a name on a warrant, let's ask a judge for it. Let's respect the history of our country.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: 2016 Fox News Republican two-tiered debate in Iowa

Ted Cruz on Cuba: (Homeland Security Jan 21, 2016)
Torture is wrong, unambiguously; America does not need it

One year after a bracing Senate report on post-9/11 CIA interrogation practices led Congress to ban waterboarding and other forms of torture, the leading Republican presidential candidates are talking like it's 2002 all over again. With one exception: Ted Cruz. "Torture is wrong, unambiguously. Period. The end," the Texas senator said in December 2014. Cruz, whose own father was tortured in Cuba, reaffirmed that position last month, saying that "America does not need torture to protect ourselves."

Last year Congress enshrined a torture ban into federal law: In June, the Senate voted 78-21 to approve the McCain-Feinstein amendment. Cruz backed the amendment.

The McCain-Feinstein amendment requires that all interrogation comply with the Army Field Manual, a publicly available document that forbids waterboarding as well as the use of electric shocks, dogs, nudity, hypothermia and mock executions. All were elements of the CIA's interrogation program in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: Politico.com, "GOP candidates on anti-torture law"

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Jan 12, 2016)
The Cold War is over; lift 50-year embargo on Cuba

Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, it set us back in Latin America. That's why we restored diplomatic relations, opened the door to travel and commerce, positioned ourselves to improve the lives of the Cuban people. So, if you want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere, recognize that the Cold War is over. Lift the embargo.

American leadership in the 21st century is not a choice between ignoring the rest of the world, except when we kill terrorists; or occupying and rebuilding whatever society is unraveling. Leadership means a wise application of military power, and rallying the world behind causes that are right. It means seeing our foreign assistance as part of our national security, not something separate, not charity.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2016 State of the Union address

Ted Cruz on Cuba: (Immigration Nov 10, 2015)
Illegals are an economic calamity for low-wage Americans

For those who believe people 'ought to come to this country legally, we're tired of being told it's anti-immigrant. I am the son of an immigrant who came legally from Cuba. We can embrace legal immigration while believing in the rule of law. Try going illegally to another country. Try going to China, or Japan. Try going to Mexico. See what they do. Every sovereign nation secures its borders, and it is not compassionate to say we're not going to enforce the laws.
Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate

Ted Cruz on Cuba: (Principles & Values Nov 10, 2015)
We the people can turn this nation around

58 years ago, my father fled Cuba. As he stood on the deck of that ferryboat with the wind and salt air blowing, he looked back at the oppression and torture he was escaping. And yet he looked forward to the promise of America. His story is our story. What ties Americans together is we are all the children of those who risked everything for freedom. If we get back to the free market principles and constitutional liberties that built this country, we can turn this country around.
Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Sep 28, 2015)
Cuba policy failed; better to engage through diplomacy

We have to be strong enough to acknowledge when what you're doing is not working. For 50 years, the United States pursued a Cuba policy that failed to improve the lives of the Cuban people. We changed that. We continue to have differences with the Cuban government. But we address these issues through diplomatic relations and increased commerce. As these contacts yield progress, I'm confident that our Congress will inevitably lift an embargo that should not be in place anymore.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Remarks by Pres.Obama to the United Nations General Assembly

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Sep 28, 2015)
Cuba policy failed; better to engage through diplomacy

We have to be strong enough to acknowledge when what you're doing is not working. For 50 years, the United States pursued a Cuba policy that failed to improve the lives of the Cuban people. We changed that. We continue to have differences with the Cuban government. But we address these issues through diplomatic relations and increased commerce. As these contacts yield progress, I'm confident that our Congress will inevitably lift an embargo that should not be in place anymore.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Remarks by Pres.Obama to the United Nations General Assembly

Pope Francis on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Sep 19, 2015)
Open Cuba; end American embargo

Pope Francis wants to open Cuba. His Vatican played a central behind-the-scenes role in last year's secret U.S.-Cuba negotiations. Long before he was elevated to the papacy, with a book he wrote in the '90s, Francis spoke out against the American embargo. Visiting Cuba this weekend, he praised the thaw between the two long-estranged neighbors as "an example of reconciliation for the entire world" that "fills us with hope."
Click for Pope Francis on other issues.   Source: Washington Post coverage of Pope Francis' 2015 U.S. visit

Pope Francis on Cuba: (Homeland Security Sep 19, 2015)
Vatican recognizes Palestinian statehood

Click for Pope Francis on other issues.   Source: Washington Post coverage of Pope Francis' 2015 U.S. visit

Pope Francis on Cuba: (War & Peace Sep 19, 2015)
Supports the Iran nuclear deal

Click for Pope Francis on other issues.   Source: Washington Post coverage of Pope Francis' 2015 U.S. visit

Donald Trump on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Sep 8, 2015)
Cuban embargo: 50 years is enough

Breaking ranks with nearly all of his fellow 2016 Republican contenders, Donald Trump says he supports President Barack Obama's decision to reengage diplomatically with Cuba. "50 years is enough," Trump said, referring to Obama's decision to re-establish U.S. ties with Cuba. "I think it's fine, but we should have made a better deal," Trump added. "The concept of opening with Cuba is fine."

Trump joins libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul as the only Republican running for president to express his support for normalizing relations with Cuba. The rest of the GOP field has slammed Obama's decision to reopen the U.S. embassy in Havana and engage diplomatically with the government of Cuba.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Jeremy Diamond on CNN

Bernie Sanders on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Sep 5, 2015)
Normalize relations with Cuba; & respect their independence

Bernie believes improving diplomatic relations with Cuba is essential to promoting democratic values in the region and strengthening our economic and cultural ties with its people.

Bernie supports normalizing relations between the two nations and removing the economic embargo, which he argues is costing American businesses billions of dollars. In February 2014, Bernie shared his hope that "Cuba moves toward a more democratic society while, at the same time, the United States will respect the independence of the Cuban people." He was part of a U.S. delegation that traveled to Cuba in 2014 to discuss trade, healthcare, and human rights issues in Havana.

Later in 2014, Bernie applauded President Obama's announcements on discussions with Cuba, and in January 2015, he sponsored the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, which aimed to address the administration's proposal to loosen restrictions on travel to Cuba and remove restrictions on travel-related banking transactions.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues"

Bernie Sanders on Cuba: (Homeland Security Sep 5, 2015)
2009: Voted against closing Gitmo; 2015: supports closing it

Bernie supports closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp the United States maintains on the Cuban island, noting it has "significantly damaged the United States' moral standing, undermined our foreign policy, and encourage terrorism rather than effectively combated it." His opinion refers to abuse and torture, as well as the unlawful detention of inmates at the military prison Amnesty International has called a "gulag of our times."

In 2009 Bernie voted against the proposals the Obama administration suggested for closing the prison. The bill was defeated with strong bipartisan support (90-6). Given Bernie's human rights concerns regarding the facility, he likely voted against it because the plans did not address the human rights violations--including being held indefinitely without trial--that he and so many other Americans are most concerned about with regards to Guantanamo.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues"

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Jan 20, 2015)
Cuba: When something doesn't work for 50 years, change it

In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you're doing doesn't work for fifty years, it's time to try something new. Our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere; removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba; stands up for democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. And this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2015 State of the Union address

Rand Paul on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Jan 1, 2015)
Where do Ron and Rand Paul disagree on foreign issues?

Where Ron Paul and Rand Paul agree on Foreign issues
  • Both oppose Iraq War
  • Both oppose Cuban embargo
  • Both agree on rights for Guantanamo detainees
  • Both agree on non-intervention abroad
  • Both oppose the TSA
  • Both oppose the United Nations
Where they disagree:Ron PaulRand Paul
Iran:Stay out of Iran Keep options on Iran
Israel:Cut off all aid Maintain alliance
Privacy vs National Security:Privacy first against terrorismSpying on terrorists ok
Foreign aid:End foreign aid Limit foreign aid
Military Spending:Cut absolute defense spendingCut relative defense spending
Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Analysis: Ron Paul vs. Rand Paul on the Issues

Rand Paul on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Dec 18, 2014)
50-year embargo with Cuba hasn't worked; lift it

In a radio interview, Sen. Rand Paul took a very different tack from his Republican colleagues in responding to President Obama's decision to reopen diplomatic relations with Cuba. Paul told Tom Roten, a radio host in Huntington WV:

Q: What are your thoughts on the president's deal here with Cuba?

PAUL: I grew up in a family that was about as anti-Communist as you could come by. And when we first opened up trade with China we were thinking it was a bad idea. But over time, I've come to believe that trading with China is the best way to actually, ultimately, defeat Communism. You know, the 50-year embargo with Cuba just hasn't worked. I mean, if the goal was regime change, it sure doesn't seem to be working. And probably it punishes the people more than the regime, because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship. And if there's open trade, I think the people will see all the things that we produce under capitalism. So in the end, I think probably opening up Cuba is a good idea.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: National Journal 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Dec 18, 2014)
Normalizing relations with Cuba can lead to positive change

Sen. Paul launched a social-media assault on Sen. Rubio about reopening US diplomatic relations with Cuba. Rubio cast the first stone: After Paul asserted earlier in the day that opening up trade with Cuba is "probably a good idea," Rubio said that Paul "has no idea what he's talking about."

Paul then posted this message on Facebook: "Senator Marco Rubio believes the embargo against Cuba has been ineffective, yet he wants to continue perpetuating failed policies. After 50 years of conflict, why not try a new approach? I believe engaging Cuba can lead to positive change. Seems to me, Senator Rubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism. Finally, let's be clear that Senator Rubio does not speak for the majority of Cuban-Americans. A recent poll demonstrates that a large majority of Cuban-Americans actually support normalizing relations between our countries.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: National Journal 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Ted Cruz on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Dec 18, 2014)
Help the Cuban opposition, not the Castros

Critics of the Cuban embargo argue, we are 50 years into the project and the Castros are still in power. But there are better options than what the Obama administration has proposed.
Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: Time magazine article by Ted Cruz

Rand Paul on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Dec 18, 2014)
Good idea to end Cuba embargo; it hasn't worked

Paul became the first potential Republican presidential candidate to offer some support for President Barack Obama's decision to try to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba. The president's surprise announcement was slammed by several potential GOP candidates, including Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, who said it amounted to appeasing the Castro regime.

Paul said in a radio interview that many younger Cuban Americans support opening up trade with Cuba. He also said many U.S. farmers would back Obama's moves because the country is a new market for their crops.

"The 50-year embargo just hasn't worked," Paul said. "If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn't seem to be working and probably it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship. In the end, I think opening up Cuba is probably a good idea," he said. Paul's comments parallel those of Hillary Clinton.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Ken Thomas on Associated Press, "Trade with Cuba"

Ted Cruz on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Oct 19, 2014)
Cuba is oppressive but never misses chance to propagandize

Q: I have one more Ebola question. And, believe it or not, it's about Cuba. Former Cuban President Fidel Castro says that he is only too happy to join the US after our plea for other countries to step up and help fight Ebola. He said that Cuba will be sending 460 doctors and nurses. What do you make of that?

CRUZ: Well, look, Fidel Castro and Raul Castro, they never miss a chance to push propaganda. You know, what I can tell is, the Castro brothers have put in place a brutal regime that oppresses their citizens, that murders their citizens, that tortures and imprisons their citizens. And the Castros are never shy to jump up and engage in some propaganda to criticize the United States.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2014 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Hillary Clinton on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Jun 6, 2014)
End the Cuban embargo; that will shift onus to Castros

Hillary Clinton says she has urged President Obama to lift the US embargo against Cuba, arguing the policy has hurt citizens of both nations. "Since 1960, the United States had maintained an embargo against the island in hopes of squeezing Castro from power, but it only succeeded in giving him a foil to blame for Cuba's economic woes," Clinton writes in an excerpt from her new book.

Clinton said she told Obama the embargo "wasn't achieving its goals" and "was holding back our broader agenda across Latin America."

"I thought we should shift the onus onto the Castros to explain why they remained undemocratic and abusive," Clinton writes. But President Obama ultimately decided to maintain the economic restrictions, she said.

In 2011, the White House said it would allow students seeking academic credit and churches making religious trips to visit the island. Additionally, the administration expanded the number of US airports permitted to offer charter service to the island.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, A.P. pre-release excerpts

Ted Cruz on Cuba: (Principles & Values Mar 7, 2014)
Two heroes in life: my father and Ronald Reagan

"Want to understand where the Tea Party champion's hardcore views come from? Meet his father, Rafael," wrote one pundit. At the age of 74, the elder Cruz is now a Tea Party celebrity, a sought-out speaker at conservative organization meetings. Always a fixture at Ted Cruz's political events, 74-year-old Rafael Cruz, the ex-entrepreneur-turned preacher is distinguished by a smile that reveals "two false teeth to replace those kicked out during the week he spent imprisoned in a Cuban military jail in 1957."

During Ted Cruz's 2012 Senate campaign, his father was sent to rallies across Texas to whip up those Cruz votes. Along with his son's political rise, Rafael has become a conservative star in his own right. He is invited to speak at events held by many right-wing organizations.

For Ted Cruz, the celebrity speaker recognition that his father acquired is an enjoyable by-product of his own political success. "I've really had two heroes in my life," he said. "My father and Ronald Reagan."

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: Cruzing to the White House, by Mario Broes, p. p.188-9

Cory Booker on Cuba: (Principles & Values Oct 31, 2013)
First African-American senator from New Jersey

Democrat Cory Booker was sworn into the Senate on Thursday, becoming the first African-American senator from New Jersey and the first African-American elected to the Senate since Illinois sent Barack Obama to Congress in 2004. New Jersey is now the first state to be represented by a black senator and a Latino senator--Sen. Robert Menendez is Cuban-American--at the same time. Slightly more than 42 percent of New Jersey's population is black and Latino.

"That's kind of incredible," Booker said. "New Jersey is a special kind of place." Booker said that to New Jersey's credit, race was never an issue in his campaign.

Booker will serve out the remainder of the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg's term, which ends in January 2015. Booker will serve on three Senate committees: Commerce, Science and Transportation; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and Environment and Public Works. Two of his assignments--commerce and environment--also were committee assignments for Lautenberg.

Click for Cory Booker on other issues.   Source: TheDailyJournal.com coverage of 2014 New Jersey Senate race

Ron DeSantis on Cuba: (Homeland Security Nov 6, 2012)
Gave legal support to Gitmo terrorist detention center

As a JAG officer in the United States Navy, he supported operations at the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and deployed to Iraq during the 2007 troop surge as an advisor to a U.S. Navy SEAL commander in support of the SEAL mission in Iraq.

He is currently an officer in the reserve component of the United States Navy. He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He has lectured on the law of war at Florida Coastal School of Law.

Click for Ron DeSantis on other issues.   Source: 2012 House campaign website, voteRon2012.com, "Issues"

Bill Nelson on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Oct 16, 2012)
Keep the Cuban embargo, but let family members travel

On Cuba policy, Mack said any loosening of the U.S. embargo would "pad the pockets of the Castro brothers.'' The embargo will be lifted when the country has free, Democratic elections, free speech and releases political prisoners, he said.

Nelson said the embargo shouldn't be lifted, but that family members should be allowed to travel and take remittances with them.

Click for Bill Nelson on other issues.   Source: Sun-Sentinel coverage of 2012 Florida Senate debate

Barack Obama on Cuba: (War & Peace Aug 11, 2012)
Green Party OpEd: We are not out of Iraq

Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for President, says of Pres. Obama's withdrawal from Iraq, "We are not out of Iraq--we should be out of Iraq and we are not," referring to the US Armed Forces move into nearby Kuwait as Obama's promised exit from Iraq. Dr. Stein disagrees with many of Obama's international policies; our OnTheIssues book details both their stances, side-by-side, on issues like: This book details the issue stances of the presidential nominees from the four leading parties: Democratic, Republican, Green, and Libertarian.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Paperback: Obama-Romney-Stein-Johnson On The Issues

John Hickenlooper on Cuba: (Technology Jan 12, 2012)
COIN: Colorado Innovation Network incubates entrepreneurship

An attraction to entrepreneurship is a climate of innovation. We established the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) to foster collaboration and idea-sharing across private sector, academic and public lines, including the 29 research laboratories in Colorado. This will multiply occurrences like Primestar Solar, where an innovation at the National Renewable Energy Lab translated into more than 400 jobs in Colorado.

COIN gives us a unique opportunity to incubate entrepreneurship and facilitate the transfer of new ideas to the marketplace. While COIN is privately funded, we are asking for a modest public investment to continue the success we had with Arrow and GE. We are requesting $6 million to support the work of the Colorado Economic Development Commission, and $3 million for a revolving loan fund to provide low-risk gap financing so Colorado can compete with other states for film, video gaming and electronic media productions. These investments will repay the state many, many times over.

Click for John Hickenlooper on other issues.   Source: Colorado 2012 State of the State Address

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Energy & Oil Jan 27, 2011)
OpEd: Sunlight & water into fuel? Share info with the world

[Obama says], "At the California Institute of Technology, they're developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars."

The planet has been saved! Or, at least, it won't perish due to an excess of CO2 or for lack of energy. It reminds me of something that happened over 40 years ago when a group of enterprising young Cuban scientists spoke to me with great enthusiasm about this same idea, based on theoretical principles. My blind faith in science led me to find everything they asked for, including an isolated facility where they would work for years.

I'm not denying a great Californian institute, but please, Mr. President, share this information with the world so that other scientists can work on this same project. This is not a matter of profit, as humanity would be prepared to pay anything your scientists want.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Castro on 2011 State of the Union, in "Obama & Empire" p.141

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Health Care Mar 24, 2010)
OpEd: ObamaCare was achieved by Cuba 50 years ago

We harbor no antagonism toward Obama, much less toward the US people. We believe that health reform has been an important battle and a success for his government. It would seem, however, to be something truly unusual, 234 years after the Declaration of Independence that the US government has passed [a law for] medical attention for the vast majority of its citizens, something that Cuba achieved for its entire population half a century ago.

I cannot stop thinking about a world in which more than 1/3 of the population lacks the medical attention and medicines essential to ensuring its health.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p.121

Jesse Ventura on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Mar 8, 2010)
Visited Cuba & Fidel Castro, despite presidential opposition

In 2002, I got the opportunity to meet Fidel Castro. A few of America's sanctions against Cuba dealing with food and agricultural products had finally been lifted, so Minnesota was able to put together a trade mission for humanitarian purposes. Pres. Bush was very opposed to my going along, but I decided it was my right as a American citizen.

I'd grown up in fear of Fidel Castro. I was young when his revolution took place in 1959, but I remember the propaganda. I vaguely recall hearing about the Bay of Pigs invasion.

I met Castro at the trade fair. The first words out of his mouth were, "You are a man of great courage." I was puzzled; he looked at me and said, "You defied your president to come here." I guess he has pretty good "intel."

And I looked right back at him and said, "Well, Mr. President, you'll find that I defy most everything." I told him that I felt the U.S. boycott was wrong. It did nothing positive for either of our countries, and it was time for Americans to get over it.

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: American Conspiracies, by Jesse Ventura, p. 26-27

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Apr 21, 2009)
Cuba should reduce surcharge on remittances from US

The president said that Cuba could reduce the surcharge imposed on remittances, which would match the new US government remittances from Cuban-American families. He explained Cuba applies a very high surcharge from which it is exacting significant profits. He added that this would be an example of cooperation where both governments would be working to help Cuban families and improve living standards in Cuba.

The assertion that Cuba imposes a very high surcharge and obtains significant profits [from remittances] is an attempt by the president's advisors to cause trouble and sow division among Cubans. Every country charges a certain amount for all hard currency transfers. If these are in dollars, all the more reason we have to do it, because that is the currency of the country that blockades us. Not all Cubans have relatives abroad who can send them remittances. Redistributing a relatively small part of this to benefit those more in need of food, medicines and other goods is absolutely fair.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p. 60-1

Marcia Fudge on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Apr 6, 2009)
Part of delegation to Cuba that met with Fidel Castro

The Congressional Black Caucus delegation visiting Cuba this time [after the first in 1999] is led by Barbara Lee (CA). I had the honor of meeting her personally and admire her combative spirit and capacity for struggle.

The group she is leading is made up of 7 members of Congress. The other members of the delegation are: Mel Watt (NC); Mike Honda (CA); Laura Richardson (CA); Bobby Rush (IL); Marcia Fudge (OH); and Emanuel Cleaver (MO).

I highly appreciate the gesture of this group of lawmakers. Among the visitors there are opinions which are shared by all; other are personal points of view. In general, they believe that 68% of US public opinion favors a change in policy toward Cuba. One of them expressed the view that it was necessary to take advantage of this historic moment, when the presence of a black president in the White House coincides with current opinion that favors the normalization of relations.

Click for Marcia Fudge on other issues.   Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p. 39-41

Rahm Emanuel on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Feb 5, 2009)
The less said on Cuba, the better

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told journalists that it is the Cuban American community President Obama is interested in. Cubans with the right to vote, due to their heritage in the state of Florida, 3 to 1 voted for the Democratic candidate. Obama is not interested in the almost 12 million Cubans who live on the island. When the man closest to the president was asked who he supported in Cuba he declined to elaborate, saying the less said on Cuba, the better.

[Emanuel] announced Cuban Americans will be permitted to travel to Cuba and to send remittances. But he did not even mention US citizens' right to travel [to Cuba]. The Cuban Adjustment Act and the blockade deserved no comments from him.

Click for Rahm Emanuel on other issues.   Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p. 24

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Jan 29, 2009)
OpEd: Maintaining Guantanamo base violates international law

After taking office, Barack Obama said the decision to return to its legitimate owner of the territory occupied by the Guantanamo naval base required weighing up the extent to which the defensive capacity of the US would or would not be affected.

Soon afterwards he added, with regard to the return to Cuba of the occupied territory, that he would first consider what concessions to demand from Cuba to return. This would amount to demanding a change of its political system, a price Cuba has been resisting for half a century.

To keep a military base in Cuba against the will of our people is a violation of the most elemental principles of international law. The US president has the ability to abide by that law without exacting any concession whatsoever. Non-compliance would be an act of arrogance and an abuse of his immense power against a small country.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p. 18

Hillary Clinton on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Dec 4, 2008)
Committed to maintaining economic embargo against Cuba

President-elect Obama, on Dec. 1, introduced his National Security and Foreign Policy teams, stating: "I have known Hillary Clinton as a friend," he says. I am mindful of the fact that she was President-elect Obama's rival and the wife of President Clinton, who signed the extraterritorial Torricelli and Helms Burton Acts against Cuba. During the presidential race she committed herself to these laws and to the economic blockade. I am not complaining, I am simply stating this for the record.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p. 13

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Foreign Policy May 25, 2008)
Maintain Cuban embargo, but allow Americans to send money

The speech Obama delivered on May 23 at the Cuban American National Foundation created by Ronald Reagan:

"Throughout my entire life, there has been injustice in Cuba. Never, in my lifetime, have the people of Cuba known freedom. Never, in the lives of 2 generations of Cubans, have the people of Cuba known democracy. This is the terrible and tragic status quo that we have known for half a century--of elections that are anything but free or fair... I won't stand for this injustice, you won't stand for this injustice, and together we will stand up for freedom in Cuba," he told the annexationists, adding: "It's time to let Cuban American money make their families less dependent on the Castro regime... I will maintain the embargo."

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p. 1

Mike Gravel on Cuba: (War & Peace May 2, 2008)
Iraq war was propagandized like 1898 “Remember the Maine!”

The military-industrial partnership [in the late 1800s] needed a war to launch America’s overseas empire. The spark came after the suspicious sinking of the US battleship Maine in Havana in 1898. It was blamed, without proof, on Spain. The three-month conflict with the decrepit Spanish Empire left the US with the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

In the end 4,324 Americans were lost, as well as between 600,000 and 1 million Filipinos--eerily familiar numbers today. Also disturbingly alike were Congressional hearings that revealed US troops used water torture against Filipinos. The Philippine occupation and resulting insurgency was essentially repeated in Vietnam and Iraq. The aims were the same: to expand US power and economic interests against competing nations under the phony banner of Christianity or democracy. All three invasions were driven by money and power as ends in themselves--or as a means to more money and power.

Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: A Political Odyssey, by Mike Gravel, p. 95-96

Jesse Ventura on Cuba: (China Book Apr 1, 2008)
We embraced China but not Cuba because Castro nationalized

I always felt, in looking at the Cuban situation, that it was wrong. And I now know why. It came to me one night. China is communist, the same as Cuba, and yet we have no problem trading with China. In fact, today we can't get over there quick enough. The difference is simple: China welcomes our corporations. Cuba threw them out. It's a basic decision of corporate America: We will punish Cuba because Castro stuck it to us by nationalizing everything after he came to power. What other reason could there be? China is far more powerful but we now welcome them into global trade with open arms--as we should--while we continue this bitter, hostile policy towards Cuba. It must be because there are still people alive in the corporate world who got hammered by Fidel's revolution.
Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Don`t Start the Revolution, by Jesse Ventura, p.111

Jesse Ventura on Cuba: (Corporations Apr 1, 2008)
We embraced China but not Cuba because Castro nationalized

I always felt, in looking at the Cuban situation, that it was wrong. And I now know why. It came to me one night. China is communist, the same as Cuba, and yet we have no problem trading with China. In fact, today we can't get over there quick enough. The difference is simple: China welcomes our corporations. Cuba threw them out. It's a basic decision of corporate America: We will punish Cuba because Castro stuck it to us by nationalizing everything after he came to power. What other reason could there be? China is far more powerful but we now welcome them into global trade with open arms--as we should--while we continue this bitter, hostile policy towards Cuba. It must be because there are still people alive in the corporate world who got hammered by Fidel's revolution.
Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Don`t Start the Revolution, by Jesse Ventura, p.111

Jesse Ventura on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Apr 1, 2008)
Questions why we still need Cuban embargo

I grew up in fear of Fidel Castro. I was young in 1959 when his revolution in Cuba took place, but I remember the propaganda.

I questioned Pres. Clinton about why we continued to have an economic boycott against the Cubans. At the time, I was smoking cigars, and I said that I was sick and tired of having to feel like a criminal every time I wanted a Cuban cigar. Clinton talked about how Cuba had shot down an American plane that strayed over its air space, and allegations of human rights violations, as justifications for why the boycott had to continue. Which still didn't fly much with me.

In 2002, a MN trade mission to Cuba came about after a few of the sanctions dealing with food and agricultural products had been lifted. This provided us an opening to seek deals with the Cuban government, for humanitarian purposes. Pres. Bush did not want me to personally go. Being there reaffirmed my position that the American sanctions are wrong. You realize that these are only hurting the Cuban people.

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Don`t Start the Revolution, by Jesse Ventura, p.107-110

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Feb 21, 2008)
Meet with Cuban leaders only with agenda of US interests

Q: [to Clinton]: Would you meet with Raul Castro or not?

CLINTON: I would not meet with him until there was evidence that change was happening.

Q: [to Obama]: Presumably you would be willing to meet?

A: That’s correct. Now, keep in mind that the starting point for our policy in Cuba should be the liberty of the Cuban people. And I think we recognize that that liberty has not existed throughout the Castro regime. And we now have an opportunity to potentially change the relationship between the US & Cuba after over half a century. I would meet without preconditions, although Sen. Clinton is right that there has to be preparation. It is very important for us to make sure that there was an agenda [including] human rights, releasing of political prisoners, opening up the press. And that preparation might take some time. But I do think that it’s important for the US not just to talk to its friends, but also to talk to its enemies. In fact, that’s where diplomacy makes the biggest difference.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Feb 21, 2008)
Cuba: Loosen restrictions now; normalization later

Q: Do you support normalizing relations with Cuba now?

A: As a show of good faith that we’re interested in pursuing a new relationship, I’ve called for a loosening of the restrictions on remittances from family members to Cuba, as well as travel restrictions for family members who want to visit their family members in Cuba. And I think that initiating that change in policy as a start could be useful, but I would not normalize relations until we started seeing some progress.

Q: But that’s different from your position back in 2003, when you called US policy toward Cuba a miserable failure.

A: I support the eventual normalization. And it’s absolutely true that I think our policy has been a failure. During my entire lifetime, Cuba has been isolated, but has not made progress when it comes to the issues of political rights and personal freedoms. So I think that we have to shift policy. I think our goal has to be ultimately normalization. But that’s going to happen in steps.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin

Hillary Clinton on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Feb 21, 2008)
Meet with Cuban leaders only after evidence of change

Q: Would you be willing to sit down with Raul Castro, to get a measure of the man?

A: The people of Cuba deserve to have a democracy. And this gives the Cuban government, under Raul Castro, a chance to change direction from the one that was set for 50 years by his brother. I’m going to be looking for some of those changes: releasing political prisoner, ending some of the oppressive practices on the press, opening up the economy. Of course the US stands ready. And, as president, I would be ready to reach out and work with a new Cuban government, once it demonstrated that it truly was going to change that direction.

Q: Very simply, would you meet with Raul Castro or not?

A: I would not meet with him until there was evidence that change was happening. A presidential visit should not be offered without some evidence that it will demonstrate the kind of progress that is in our interest, and in this case, in the interests of the Cuban people.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin

Hillary Clinton on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Feb 21, 2008)
Diplomacy with Iran & Cuba, but no presidential meetings

Q: [to Obama]: Do you support normalizing relations with Cuba now?

OBAMA: I would not normalize relations until we started seeing some progress [on the US agenda in Cuba]. But I do think that it’s important for the US not just to talk to its friends, but also to talk to its enemies.

CLINTON: I agree that we should be willing to have diplomatic negotiations and processes with anyone. I’ve been a strong advocate of opening up such a diplomatic process with Iran, for a number of years. Because I think we should look for ways that we can possibly move countries that are adversarial to us, toward the world community. It’s in our interests and in the interests of the people in countries that are oppressed, like Cuba, like Iran. But there has been this difference between us over when and whether the president should offer a meeting, without preconditions, with those with whom we do not have diplomatic relations. And it should be part of a process, but I don’t think it should be offered in the beginning

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin

Hillary Clinton on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Sep 9, 2007)
Cuba deserves peaceful transition to freedom & democracy

Q: What do you think would happen in Cuba without Fidel Castro? And what role would the US play in that transition?

A: The Cuban people deserve freedom and democracy, and we’re all hopeful that that can be brought about peacefully. It appears as though the reign of Castro is reaching an end. We don’t know what will follow Fidel Castro, but we need to do everything we can to work with our friends in Latin America who are democratic nations, with the Europeans and others, to try to bring about a peaceful transition to democracy and freedom for the Cuban people. Now, that requires that we work with the entire hemisphere. You know, in 1994 I remember being here in Miami when my husband hosted the Summit of the Americas. At that time, there was only one anti-democratic, anti-American leader in the hemisphere, namely Castro. Look at what we face today because of the misguided, bullying policies of this president. So let’s reverse it and get ready for freedom in Cuba!

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish

Mike Gravel on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Sep 9, 2007)
Recognize Cuba; open up to Chavez in Venezuela

Q: Is Hugo Chavez a dictator? If he continues to be friends with enemies of the US like Iran and Cuba, would you end relations with Venezuela, or would you stop buying oil from Venezuela?

A: No, not at all. In fact, I would reach out to him. Do we forget that our CIA tried to depose him? Do we forget that? So, is he an enemy? No, he’s not an enemy. We’ve created him as an enemy. We’re doing the same thing with Iran. What’s the difference if Chavez deals with Iran? We hope that a lot of countries begin to interchange their leadership and begin to think about the globe as one entity. There’s nothing wrong. The same thing with Fidel Castro. Why can’t we recognize Cuba? What’s the big deal, after 25 years, that these people 125 miles from this country are discriminated against? It makes no sense at all. We need to open up our arms to all nations and treat them as friends, not start looking for enemies.

Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish

Barack Obama on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Jul 23, 2007)
Meet with enemy leaders; it’s a disgrace that we have not

Q: Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?

OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this: the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them--which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration--is ridiculous. Ronald Reagan constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when he called them an evil empire. He understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward. And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.

CLINTON: I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes. I don’t want to make a situation even worse. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC

Hillary Clinton on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Jul 23, 2007)
Diplomacy yes; propaganda no; when meeting enemy leaders

Q: Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba & N.Korea?

OBAMA: I would. The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them is ridiculous. I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.

CLINTON: I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort but not a high level meeting before you know what the intentions are. I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy, which has been turned into a bad word by this administration. I will use a lot of high-level presidential envoys to test the waters, to feel the way. But certainly, we’re not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro & Hugo Chavez & the president of North Korea, Iran & Syria until we know better what the way forward would be.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC

Howie Hawkins on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Nov 1, 2006)
Support the UN; oppose the Cuban embargo

Q: Should the United States maintain its financial support of the United Nations?

A: Yes.

Q: Should the United States commit troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions?

A: Yes.

Q: Should the United States lift the travel ban to Cuba?

A: Yes.

Hawkins adds, "Stop exporting and encouraging nuclear power, which leads to nuclear weapons. Push for complete global nuclear disarmament through US unilateral initiatives to set the example. Stop 'Star Wars' militarization of space."

Click for Howie Hawkins on other issues.   Source: 2006 Congressional National Political Awareness

Mike Gravel on Cuba: (Health Care Nov 1, 2006)
Almost all developed nations provide healthcare for all

The US and South Africa are the only two developed nations in the world that do not provide healthcare for all their citizens. The World Health Organization ranked the US 37th [worldwide] for overall health performance and 54th for healthcare fairness. Yet the United States spends more per capita for healthcare than any other nation in the world. The United States is 41st in the world for infant mortality; Cuba scores higher. Women are 70% more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe.
Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: Press release, “Stepping Back From Imperialism”

Mike Gravel on Cuba: (Welfare & Poverty Nov 1, 2006)
US ranks low worldwide in poverty statistics

The US now ranks 22nd in childhood poverty, or second to last among developed nations; only Mexico ranks lower. The United States is 41st in the world for infant mortality; Cuba scores higher. Women are 70% more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe.

The World Health Organization ranked the US 37th [worldwide] for overall health performance and 54th for healthcare fairness. Yet the United States spends more per capita for healthcare than any other nation in the world.

Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: Press release, “Stepping Back From Imperialism”

Hillary Clinton on Cuba: (Abortion Oct 11, 2005)
Voted liberal line on partial birth & harm to fetus

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Condi vs. Hillary, by Dick Morris, p. 85-86

Hillary Clinton on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Oct 20, 2000)
Keep Cuban embargo; pay UN bills

Hillary Clinton said she would oppose lifting the embargo against Cuba until democracy took root there. She said she would support paying America’s unpaid bills to the United Nations. She once again voiced her support for Israel and, while praising the tentative cease-fire agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians reached Monday, she made it clear the burden was on Yasir Arafat to end the violence.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Dean Murphy, NY Times on 2000 election

Hillary Clinton on Cuba: (Families & Children Apr 2, 2000)
Decide Elian’s fate via ongoing INS legal process

Hillary Clinton today opposed congressional action to make Elian Gonzalez a US resident, putting herself at odds with Vice President Gore. “Hillary knows that we must take politics out of this decision,” said her campaign spokesman, echoing President Clinton’s position. “Elian’s future should be determined as quickly as possible through the appropriate, ongoing legal process.” The Immigration and Naturalization Service has ruled that Elian belongs with his Cuban father.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: AP in Washington Post on 2000 election, p. A3

John Kasich on Cuba: (Foreign Policy Nov 1, 1996)
No diplomatic relations with Cuba nor Vietnam

Q: Should the US have diplomatic relations with the government of Cuba?

A: No.

Q: Should the US have diplomatic relations with the government of Vietnam?

A: No.

Q: Should the US continue funding for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty?

A: No.

A: Yes.

Q: Should the US continue funding for Radio Free Asia?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support the deployment of US troops to the former Yugoslavia?

A: No.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: Congressional 1996 National Political Awareness Test

John Kasich on Cuba: (Free Trade Nov 1, 1996)
Supports NAFTA and GATT

Q: Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support broadening NAFTA to include other countries?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support lifting the trade embargo imposed against Cuba?

A: No.

Q: Do you support imposing tariffs on products imported from nations that maintain restrictive trade barriers on American products?

A: Yes.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: Congressional 1996 National Political Awareness Test

  • Additional quotations related to Cuba issues can be found under Foreign Policy.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Foreign Policy.
Candidates on Foreign Policy:
 Related issues:
American Exceptionalism
Arab Spring
China
Foreign Aid
NAFTA
North Korea
Puerto Rico
Refugee Crisis
Russia
Saudi
Syria
United Nations

2020 Presidential primary contenders:
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Gov.Bill Weld (R-MA&L-NY)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)
2020 Presidential Nominees:
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE for President)
CEO Don Blankenship (Constitution Party)
Rocky De La Fuente (Alliance/Reform Party)
Howie Hawkins (Green Party)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA for V.P.)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian Party)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN for re-election)
Gloria La Riva (Socialism and Liberation)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY for re-election)
Kanye West (Birthday Party)
Other Topics in the News:
Black Lives Matter
China
Coronavirus Pandemic
Energy Independence
Gay Rights
Global Warming
Illegal Immigrants
Iranian Nukes
Israel/Palestine
North Korea
ObamaCare
Russia
Second Amendment
Supreme Court Bailout_+_Stimulus
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Page last updated: Mar 01, 2022