Sunday, December 9, 2007

Republicans on Cuba at Univision Debate

PAUL: Actually, I believe we're at a time where we even ought to talk to Cuba and trade and travel to Cuba.



But let me -- let me tell you -- let me tell you why -- let me tell you why we have a problem in South America and Central America: because we've been involved in their internal affairs for so long. We have been meddling in their business.


We create the Chavezes of the world, we create the Castros of the world by interfering and creating chaos in their countries, and they respond by throwing out their leader.


MODERATOR: Thank you, Mayor. Thank you, Mayor.

When talking about Cuba, Cuban dictatorship has survived nine U.S. presidents. What would you do differently, that has not been done so far, to bring democracy to Cuba? We're going to start with Senator Thompson.

THOMPSON: I'm going to make sure that he didn't survive 10 U.S. presidents.

Castro is unique in many respects.

THOMPSON: He represents the only non-democratic, at least, elected government in the hemisphere. He is uniquely brutal. He is still tyrannizing his own people.
He lures the vulnerable and the naive Americans down there and puts on shows for them and they come back and do his propaganda. There are not many people who can pull that sort of thing off.
He's obviously in bad health. That situation, probably, is in God's hands. He will probably be succeeded by someone who's no better than him, and that is Raul.
And we should treat Raul with the same contempt that we show Castro, including keeping the embargo on Cuba.


MODERATOR: Governor Romney, what would you do differently that has not been done so far?

ROMNEY: Well, first of all, you've got to think about who Castro is, and who Raul Castro is as well.

ROMNEY: We call them strongmen -- dictators, authorative totalitarian leaders. And yet these are individuals who are not strong. Look at what they have done? Brothers to the rescue. They shoot a small aircraft out of the sky. People wearing a wristband that says change, are arrested -- 25 of them just for wearing a wristband; a Catholic church is edited and people are terrified because a priest is just speaking his sermon.

These people, 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. That's not the way to go. Instead, it's 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.

ROMNEY: We need a Latin American policy that frees Cuba and that eliminates a threat of people like Hugo Chavez.


MODERATOR: Thank you. Governor?

MODERATOR: Senator McCain, the same question. What would you do differently?

MCCAIN: First of all, could I again congratulate the people of Venezuela for rejecting this dictator's attempt to become a president for life? And I also would like to echo the words of Prince Juan Carlos, Por que no te callas? Why don't you shut up?

I'm pleased to have the support of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario and Lincoln Diaz-
Balart, who advise me and know these issues, and Mel Martinez, every day. My friends, tonight our thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Bucet (ph), who fights for freedom, who is now in prison, because Dr. Bucet (ph) resisted and fought against a state-controlled and state-mandated abortion.

MCCAIN: God bless him and those students who wore this bracelet called Cambio, who are now under arrest today.

Of course we need to keep our embargo up. Of course we cannot allow economic aid to flow to Cuba. And if I were president of the United States, I would order an investigation of the shoot-down of those brave Cubans who were killed under the orders of Raul and Fidel Castro, and, if necessary, indict them.

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