issues2000

Topics in the News: Cuba


Barack Obama on 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: Thatís 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 itís important for the US not just to talk to its friends, but also to talk to its enemies. In fact, thatís 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 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 weíre interested in pursuing a new relationship, Iíve 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 thatís different from your position back in 2003, when you called US policy toward Cuba a miserable failure.

A: I support the eventual normalization. And itís 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 thatís 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 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. Iím 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 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 itís 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. Iíve 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. Itís 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 donít 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

Mike Huckabee on Foreign Policy : Feb 10, 2008
Urged ending Cuban embargo as governor; now supports embargo

Q: When you were governor, you wrote this in a letter to Pres. Bush about Cuba: ďUS policy on Cuba has not accomplished its stated goal of toppling the Castro regime and instead has provided Castro with a convenient excuse for his own failed system of government. I urge you to join with me in working to lift the failed embargo.Ē You then went to Florida and said no, the embargo should stay, saying, ďWhat changed was Iím running for president.Ē Is that a flip-flop?

A: The embargo was specifically referenced to the rice industry in my state. As the governor of the number one rice producer in the nation, we wanted to export our rice, including to Cuba. The more I became familiar with the oppression of Cuba, I realized that my position was, frankly, short-sighted, and it was based on my local agricultural concerns rather than the more important concerns of Cubaís oppressive regime. I got to lead the whole country and act in the best interest of how we can best deal with a rogue regime.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press: 2008 ďMeet the CandidatesĒ series

Rudy Giuliani on Immigration : Jan 24, 2008
A special policy for Cuban immigrants fleeing Castro

Q: Why a special policy for a Cuban immigrant?

A: Well, of course, this was developed in the 1960s, because the longest dictatorship, I believe, in the modern world, is the one of Fidel Castro. The presumption is that if youíre fleeing Fidel Castro, given decades and decades of murder, oppression--including, most recently, the way he cracked down on Brothers to the Rescue, all of these things--thereís a presumption in the immigration law that if youíre fleeing Fidel Castro, youíre fleeing political persecution. In every other situation, you have to prove it. If you can prove that youíre fleeing political persecution, youíll be accepted. Weíve had this exception now for, what, for 40 years? And I think itís a fair one, given the history of Castro, which is a pretty unusual one. And he is the longest-standing dictator, certainly in this hemisphere, I believe in the world.

Click for Rudy Giuliani on other issues.   Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida

Ron Paul on Free Trade : Dec 12, 2007
Look at the monetary system and deal with the trade issues

We need to adopt free trade agreements with other countries. We inhibit the export of, say, farm products to countries like Cuba. Itís time we changed our attitude about Cuba. Our markets get closed for monetary reasons because our chief export is our dollar. Because we have the reserve currency of the world, people take these dollars and our jobs go overseas. You canít solve any of these problems if you donít look at the monetary system and how it contributes to these job losses at home.
Click for Rudy Giuliani on other issues.   Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate

Mitt Romney on Foreign Policy : Dec 9, 2007
Free Cuba and eliminate threat of people like Hugo Chavez

Q: Cuban dictatorship has survived nine US presidents. What would you do differently?

A: Youíve got to think about who Fidel Castro is, and who Raul Castro is as well. We call them strongmen--dictators, totalitarian leaders. And yet these are individuals who are not strong. Look at what they have done: People wearing a wristband that says ďchangeĒ are arrested--25 of them just for wearing a wristband. These Castro brothers are cowards, and we have to recognize they are cowards. And for that reason, the course for America is to continue our isolation of Cuba. It is not to say, as Barack Obama on the Democratic side said, that he would dignify the Castros with a personal visit to Cuba. Thatís not the way to go. Instead, itís to bring our friends together to isolate Cuba, to put together a strategy that helps all of Latin America, weakens Hugo Chavez who is propping up Castro. We need a Latin American policy that frees Cuba and that eliminates a threat of people like Hugo Chavez.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision

Hillary Clinton on 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 weíre all hopeful that that can be brought about peacefully. It appears as though the reign of Castro is reaching an end. We donít 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 letís 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

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Jul 23, 2007
Meet with enemy leaders; itís 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 donít want to be used for propaganda purposes. I donít 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 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 donít 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, weíre 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

Mike Huckabee on Homeland Security : Jun 10, 2007
Guantanamo prisoners are treated very well

Q: General Colin Powell was asked about the status of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, whether suspected terrorists should be housed there. He said:
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL: If it was up to me, I would close Guantanamo. Not tomorrow, but this afternoon. Every morning I pick up a paper and some authoritarian figure, some person somewhere is using Guantanamo to hide their own misdeeds. And so essentially, we have shaken the belief that the world had in Americaís justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open.
Q: Do you agree with Secretary Powell?

A: I know itís become a symbol of whatís wrong. Itís more symbolic than it is a substantive issue, because people perceive of mistreatment when, in fact, there are extraordinary means being taken to make sure these detainees are being given, really, every consideration.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer

Mike Huckabee on Immigration : May 3, 2007
Change rule barring immigrants from running for president

Q: Should we change our Constitution to allow men like Mel Martinez, born in Cuba, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, born in Austria, to stand here some night as candidates for president?

ROMNEY: Never given that a lot of thought, but with Arnold sitting there, Iíll give it some thought, but probably not.

Gov. THOMPSON: No.

HUCKABEE: After Iíve served eight years as president, Iíd be happy to change the Constitution for Governor Schwarzenegger.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC

Ron Paul on Immigration : May 3, 2007
Keep rule barring immigrants from running for president

Q: Should we change our Constitution to allow men like Mel Martinez, born in Cuba, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, born in Austria, to stand here some night as candidates for president?

PAUL: Iím a no, because I am a strong supporter of the original intent

GIULIANI: When he called me up to endorse him, he got me on the phone, he said, ďWill you endorse me?Ē, and I was too afraid to say no. I would say yes.

TANCREDO: Intimidating as he might be, Iím saying no.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC

Mitt Romney on Immigration : May 3, 2007
Keep rule barring immigrants from running for president

Q: Should we change our Constitution to allow men like Mel Martinez, born in Cuba, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, born in Austria, to stand here some night as candidates for president?

ROMNEY: Never given that a lot of thought, but with Arnold sitting there, Iíll give it some thought, but probably not.

Gov. THOMPSON: No.

HUCKABEE: After Iíve served eight years as president, Iíd be happy to change the Constitution for Governor Schwarzenegger.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC

Rudy Giuliani on Immigration : May 3, 2007
Change rule barring immigrants from running for president

Q: Should we change our Constitution to allow men like Mel Martinez, born in Cuba, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, born in Austria, to stand here some night as candidates for president?

PAUL: Iím a no, because I am a strong supporter of the original intent

GIULIANI: When he called me up to endorse him, he got me on the phone, he said, ďWill you endorse me?Ē, and I was too afraid to say no. I would say yes.

TANCREDO: Intimidating as he might be, Iím saying no.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC

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

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

Hillary Clinton on 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 Americaís 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 Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: Dean Murphy, NY Times

Hillary Clinton on Families & Children : Apr 2, 2000
Decide Elianís 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. ďHillary knows that we must take politics out of this decision,Ē said her campaign spokesman, echoing President Clintonís position. ďElianís future should be determined as quickly as possible through the appropriate, ongoing legal process.Ē The Immigration and Naturalization Service has ruled that Elian belongs with his Cuban father.
Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: Associated Press in Washington Post, p. A3

Rudy Giuliani on Families & Children : Apr 2, 2000
Give Elian citizenship; decide fate in family court

Rudy Giuliani maintains that Elian Gonzalez should be granted US citizenship and that any custody issues should be handled in family court.
Elian was rescued in November after the boat he was on sank. His mother drowned in the attempt to flee Cuba. Elian has been living with Miami relatives who have refused to allow him to leave, although the INS has ruled that Elian belongs with his Cuban father.
Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: Associated Press in Washington Post, p. A3

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