Mitt Romney will adopt a clear policy toward the Cuban regime: no accommodation, no appeasement. The United States should not relent until the day when the Castros’ regime meets its end and their history is written among the world's most reviled despots, tyrants, and frauds. The North Star that guides Mitt Romney’s policy toward the island is the realizable dream of a free Cuba.
Unfortunately, President Obama has adopted a strategy of appeasement toward the Castro regime. He unilaterally relaxed sanctions without making any demands of the regime. Predictably, the Castros responded to these naïve concessions by tightening their grip on the island and by taking an American, Alan Gross, as a political prisoner. Now, increased travel and remittances to Cuba prop up a regime desperate for foreign currency.
Mitt Romney will break sharply with President Obama’s appeasement strategy. Mitt Romney believes unilateral concessions to a dictatorial regime are counterproductive, helping to secure a succession of power and greater repression instead of a transition to freedom. Mitt Romney will send a strong message to both the regime and the Cuban people that the United States stands with the courageous pro-democracy movement on the island, and that our support will never waver. Mitt Romney’s policy toward Cuba will include:
•Reinstating Travel & Remittance Restrictions
•Adhering to the Helms-Burton Act.
•Demanding Release of Alan Gross
•Democracy Promotion Programs
•Breaking the Information Blockade
•Publicly Naming Oppressors.
•Holding the Castros Accountable for the Brothers to the Rescue Shoot Down
•Bolstering the Inter-American Democratic Charte
•Campaign for Economic Opportunity in Latin America
•Hemispheric Joint Task Force on Crime & Terrorism
January 25, 2012: mittromney.com
Mitt advocating the assassination of Fidel Castro
"This is a critical time. I think you realise that. We've waited a long, long time for the opportunity that is represented by a new president, and by new leadership, or by old leadership finally kicking the bucket in Cuba… And I want to take advantage… I want to be the American president that is proud to be able to say that I was president at the time that we brought freedom back to the people of Cuba.
If I'm fortunate to become the next president of the United States it is my expectation that Fidel Castro will finally be taken off this planet… I doubt he'll take any time in the sky. He'll find a nether region to be more to his comfort…
I know I learned something about negotiating. I found that if I was trying to negotiate with someone else that before I gave them something, I wanted to know what I was going to get back. The idea that I’m going to negotiate, it’s a trade – I’m going to get something, and they’re going to get something.
What has occurred to me as I’ve watched our president over the last Castro years, is that from time to time we have a president who thinks that a tyrant, that a person who considers America their enemy, that that tyrant will give them something, just by virtue of us giving them something, with no trade whatsoever. Where we just say here, we’ll give you this thing and hope you’ll give us something nice back. Negotiations are not a matter of giving and hope. They’re a matter of giving and getting in return.
This president has decided to give a gift, to Castro, to allow remittances to come from the United States to go into Cuba and help the economy of Cuba. He’s allowed more traveling into Cuba. Showing that olive branch if you will. And how has it been met? It is met with a man, Wilman Villar*, who must sacrifice his own life through his hunger strike, with many, many people being oppressed in prison.
This president does not understand that by helping Castro, he is not helping the people of Cuba he is hurting them, he is not putting forward a policy of freedom, he is accommodating and encouraging a policy of oppression, and if I’m President of the United States, we will return to Helms-Burton and the law, and we will not give Castro any gifts.
*Wilman Villar is a political prisoner who died in January 2012 after a 50-day hunger strike
Jan 25, 2012: Romney speaking at the US-Cuba Democracy PAC event in Miami Freedom Tower
In September 2010, Obama extended the presidential authority to order the continuation of the existing economic embargo on Cuba by another year, as per the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act.
Presidential Memorandum-Continuation of Authorities Under the Trading With the Enemy Act
SUBJECT: Continuation of the Exercise of Certain Authorities Under the Trading With the Enemy Act
Under section 101(b) of Public Law 95-223 (91 Stat. 1625; 50 U.S.C. App. 5(b) note), and a previous determination on September 11, 2009 (74 FR 47431, September 16, 2009), the exercise of certain authorities under the Trading With the Enemy Act is scheduled to terminate on September 14, 2010.
I hereby determine that the continuation for 1 year of the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba is in the national interest of the United States.
Therefore, consistent with the authority vested in me by section 101(b) of Public Law 95-223, I continue for 1 year, until September 14, 2011, the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba, as implemented by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515.
The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.
September 2, 2010: Presidential Memorandum-Continuation of Authorities Under the Trading With the Enemy Act
… the Cuban people now have not enjoyed freedom for 50 years, and everywhere else in the world you've been seeing a democratization movement that has been pressing forward. Throughout Latin America, democracies have emerged from previously authoritarian regimes. The time has come for the same thing to happen in Cuba.
Now, what we've tried to do is to send a signal that we are open to a new relationship with Cuba if the Cuban government starts taking the proper steps to open up its own country and its own -- and provide the space and the respect for human rights that would allow the Cuban people to determine their own destiny.
I changed the remittance laws so that family members could more easily send money back to Cuba, because that would give them more power and it would create a economic space for them to prosper. Within Cuba we have changed the family travel laws so that they can travel more frequently, as well as laws that relate to educational travel.
And so we've made these modifications that send a signal that we're prepared to show flexibility and not be stuck in a Cold War mentality dating back to when I was born. On the other hand, we have to see a signal back from the Cuban government that it is following through on releasing political prisoners, on providing people their basic human rights, in order for us to be fully engaged with them. And so far, at least, what we haven't seen is the kind of genuine spirit of transformation inside of Cuba that would justify us eliminating the embargo.
I don't know what will happen over the next year, but we are prepared to see what happens in Cuba. If we see positive movement we will respond in a positive way. Hopefully, over the next five years, we will see Cuba looking around the world and saying, we need to catch up with history.
September 28, 2011: Obama, in a question and answer session with U.S. Hispanic media.
President Obama believes that recent changes in Cuba have not been "aggressive enough" to open its economy or reform its political system. “And they certainly have not been aggressive enough when it comes to liberating political prisoners and giving people the opportunity to speak their minds… You are seeing enormous changes taking place in the Middle East just in the span of six months, you are seeing there are almost no authoritarian communist countries left in the world, and here you have this small island that is a throwback to the 60s.”September 13, 2011: Obama, speaking to Spanish-language correspondents in Washington (via BBC: Barack Obama says Cuba's reforms not aggressive enough