Thursday, October 16, 2008

Garcia and Diaz-Balart debate Cuba

Excerpt from Miami Herald report on a debate between Joe Garcia and Mario Diaz-Balart (full story here) 10/16/08


Regarding restricting travel to Cuba, Diaz-Balart reiterated his support of the current once-every-three-years limit on exile travel to the island. Diaz-Balart noted that Cubans, once in the United States, are given a quicker path to citizenship than other immigrants.

''With every privilege comes responsibility,'' Diaz-Balart said. ``If you're a Colombian and you receive political asylum here, you can't go back and just travel at will back to Colombia.''

Garcia, however, called the travel rules ''an absurdity'' and ''un-American.'' He told the story of one exile who had to choose between visiting a dying mother or being able to return for the funeral after she passed.

''It's not right, and we shouldn't do that,'' he said.

On other foreign policy matters, Garcia distanced himself from Obama's willingness to hold presidential-level meetings with foreign leaders such as Raúl Castro.

''What I think he said, and I think he's pretty clear, is that if it promotes democracy and change in those countries, then he's willing to do it, and those are very important steps,'' Garcia said, adding: ``My policy has always been that we shouldn't meet with those dictatorships.''

Diaz-Balart also said he frowned on such meetings, describing Castro and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez as ``terrorist thugs.''

Comment: Joe goes halfway with Obama and not nearly far enough on travel, but is still preferable to Lincoln.

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