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Posted November 29, 2011 by publisher in Cuban American Politics

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Article by Cameron Joseph of The Hill with commentary by Havana Journal publisher in bold below.

Regarding my background, I am a registered Republican from Massachusetts and have lived here since 1985. I lived here while Mitt Romney was Governor. I voted for Mitt for Senator running against Ted Kennedy a long time ago. I voted for him for Governor and I would vote for him if he was the Republican nominee. I voted for Obama in 2008 and will not be voting for him again in 2012.

Even though I support President Obama’s relaxed Cuba travel policies, he has been a lousy President so I will be voting Republican in 2012. I live in former Congressman Bill Delahunt’s (D) district and voted for him many times but I did not and will not vote for Congressman Keating (D). I never voted for Ted Kennedy (D) or John Kerry(D).

So, I am fiscally conservative but socially liberal and I don’t like extremists whether they are on the right or left. Now on with the show…

Three of Florida’s most prominent Cuban-American Republicans have endorsed Mitt Romney, a major boost in the early-primary state.

The endorsements from Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart and former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart are huge for the former Massachusetts governor. All three endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008 and are hard-liners on Cuba. And how did that turn out for McCain?

“The policies of the past three years have put America’s standing in the world at risk,” said Ros-Lehtinen in a statement put out by Romney’s campaign. “It is time we had a president who understands that our country must lead. Mitt Romney believes that America is an exceptional nation and has a strategy to restore our country’s greatness. The Romney plan for economic growth will create jobs and opportunities for all, especially for South Floridians, who are passionate in their pursuit of the American Dream.” Okay, I agree with this but since Cuba is Ros-Lehtinen’s ONLY issue, this statement is just a cover for what she really means… keep reading.

Florida is a crucial state in the GOP nomination process, going fourth after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. If Romney can win Florida, an expensive state with eight media markets in which he is well-positioned, he could foreseeably lock in the nomination before Super Tuesday in early March, allowing him to conserve resources and shift his focus toward the general election.

The Cuban-American population, which is concentrated in Miami, is a major swing bloc in any Republican primary — and tends to follow endorsements and move en masse toward a candidate more than other voting blocs. Miami-Dade County, where Cuban-Americans have the most voters, gave McCain half his margin of victory over Romney in the state four years ago. Ah but this time maybe it’s different. Young Cuban Americans aren’t right wing, anti-American, pro-Embargo extremists like Ros-Lehtinen, Diaz-Balart etc.

Former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) already endorsed Romney after backing McCain four years ago. Again, how did that work out? Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the most prominent Cuban-American politician in the state, has said he won’t endorse in the primary. Right. He wants to get the VP call or at least leave his political options open but make no mistake, he is a right wing extremist too when it comes to Cuba policy.

Winning the Cuban-American vote would be huge for Romney, and with the community’s powerful establishment politicians aligning behind him, he should be in good shape in Miami. Maybe. However, you know why these politicians are supporting Romney? Because they know they can influence him on Cuba policy where they know Gingrich would take the more rational approach and probably lift the Embargo since it is such a stupid policy that only serves to line the pockets of these politicians and their constituents with “pro-Democracy” Cuba programs.

I think I just became a Gingrich supporter.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on November 29, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    And if you think Marco Rubio is not a one-issue right wing Republican, why is he making such a stink about a simple State Department appointment?

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  2. Follow up post #2 added on November 30, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Interview with Newt by Chris Moody of Yahoo News

    Since we are in Florida, can you provide an idea of how your administration would handle relations with Cuba?

    I think we need a very aggressive model. I describe it as a Cuban Spring. If you have a U.S. government that says Assad should go, why aren’t they aggressively saying Castro should go?

    We are trying to develop a strategy right now to outline the things we would do in the next two years to try to get the Cuban people to freedom by 2014.

    Can you provide some specific examples?

    Dramatically expand support for independence in Cuba, dramatically expand communications, begin bringing pressure to bear. Try to go to the younger generation of Cubans in Cuba and work with them covertly.

    Would you open up trade relations with Cuba as president?

    It’s probably not part of it, but I think you would look at under what circumstance would you change and could you offer the Cuban people. For example, immediately after a free election, all the embargoes would drop as of that day. You could have the carrot of saying, the second there’s a free election, we should do everything we can to help the Cuban economy flourish.

    President Obama has opened more air travel to the island. Would you shut down those flights?

    No, but I would very aggressively move towards maximizing dissent inside Cuba. Mostly covert, and also just subsidies. Go back and look what we did in Poland for example when we aggressively supported Solidarity.

    What kinds of items would you subsidize?

    You might try to find a way to give virtually every Cuban a free radio. You might want to try to find a way to maximize your ability to broadcast into Cuba so that you have a continuous alternative model of information.

    Do you support “wet-foot-dry-foot,” the policy that allows Cubans to stay in the United States, but only if they can reach land?

    No, I think we ought to have some rule that says if you get far enough away from Cuba you’ve made it. I think it’s a terrible thing to say to somebody that you can be within sight of land and that if we intercept you, we’re sending you back. Cuba is the last authoritarian dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere, so it’s a unique case.

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