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Posted September 23, 2012 by publisher in Cuban American Politics

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Original title: Ryan Criticizes Obama’s Cuba Policy and Explains His Shift on the Issue By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. of New York Times

Havana Journal publisher comments in bold below. I am a Massachusetts Republican. I support the Romney/Ryan ticket and will be voting for them in November. I voted for Obama in 2008 but he has failed in so many ways, there is no reason to keep him in office for four more years.

On a morning intended to reassure hard-line anti-Castro voters, who are a powerful force in South Florida Republican politics, Representative Paul D. Ryan made a pilgrimage to a restaurant here at the heart of the Cuban exile community in Little Havana. Part of the reason: to criticize what he called President Obama’s “appeasement” of the Cuban government. Appeasement? Really? How about calling it “allowing Americans to have the freedom travel anywhere in the world”?

But the visit was also intended to do some fence-mending of his own: as a young congressman from a largely rural Wisconsin district, Mr. Ryan, now Mitt Romney’s 42-year-old vice-presidential running mate, supported ending the trade embargo with Cuba, an unpopular sentiment among many Republicans and Cuban exiles in this part of Florida, one of the most crucial swing states in the general election.

“If we think engagement works well with China, well, it ought to work well with Cuba,” Mr. Ryan had said a decade ago in an interview with The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The embargo doesn’t work. It is a failed policy,” he said, adding that while many Cuban-Americans were passionate in their support of the embargo, “I just don’t agree with them and never have.” And I don’t think he really agrees with them now. Ryan is a fact guy… a practical guy. A few dummies in Miami are not going to convince Ryan that the failed Plan A Embargo is working or will ever work.

And so on Saturday morning, Mr. Ryan appeared alongside a powerhouse lineup of Florida Republicans including former Gov. Jeb Bush at the restaurant Versailles, long famous as a gathering place for the anti-Castro movement.

There, in front of a cheering crowd and with particularly intense endorsement from former Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart, idiot Mr. Ryan made the case that his understanding of Cuba had evolved under long tutelage from Republican House members from South Florida, including Mr. Diaz-Balart and his younger brother Mario, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, now the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman, who have also endorsed him. and I’m sure given money to the Romney campaign AND pressured him to all of the sudden be pro-Embargo/anti-American.

In a separate local television interview, Mr. Ryan also explained how he had come to change his mind and since 2007 has supported the embargo.

“You learn from friendships,” read pressure to conform Mr. Ryan told the crowd at Versailles, explaining that his Florida friends in Congress had shown him “just how brutal the Castro regime is, just how this president’s policy of appeasement is not working.” The President’s policy of “appeasement” is not supposed to “work”. It is designed to let the American people have the freedom to travel NOT to destabilize the Cuban government in some way.

Mr. Ryan argues that the Obama administration has been too willing to engage with Cuba Really? How has he engaged Castro at all? and has made it too easy to travel back and forth and send money to Havana from the United States. He vowed that a Romney-Ryan administration would be “tough on Castro” as well as on Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan leader. You want to be tough on Castro? Stop sending ALL remittances to Cuba and don’t allow ANY Cuban Americans to travel to Cuba for any reason. THAT’S an Embargo. Of course the rabid idealists Diaz-Balarts and Ros-Lehtinen’s of the world would not allow for THOSE restrictions.

An aide said Mr. Ryan’s evolution was not hard to understand: when he began in Congress he considered the issue primarily through the prism of constituents in southern Wisconsin who worried about export markets for agricultural products. FACTS But gradually, the aide said, Mr. Ryan’s views evolved to consider more heavily the embargo’s national security implications, LIES and that he has explicitly supported the embargo for the past five years.

An Obama campaign official took strong issue with Mr. Ryan’s characterization of the administration’s Cuba policy, saying that Mr. Obama “has repeatedly renewed the trade embargo with Cuba, pressured the Castro regime to give its people more of a say in their own future, and supported democracy movements on the island.” That’s true.

The official also said that the administration had “put in place common-sense, family-based reforms that allow Cuban-Americans to visit their family members still living in Cuba.” Also true.

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