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realclearworld

Newt Gingrich on Cuba

Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was in Florida this past weekend, and when asked about Cuba and U.S. policy towards the Castro dictatorship, this is what he had to say:

http://l3.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/dzN_hagP.gkupGw27AUbeA--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYzMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en/blogs/theticket/Newt-Gingrich-greets-supporters-at-Books-A-Million-in-Naples-Fla.-over-the-weekend-AP.jpg

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.

22 comments to Newt Gingrich on Cuba

  • asombra

    It's probably moot, but I'm not too impressed, though it's obviously better than what we'd get from a Dem. If he thinks that "carrot" will ever tempt Castro, Inc. he's dreaming, not to say out of his mind (unless we're talking about elections like the ones they have in Venezuela and Nicaragua).

  • FreedomForCuba

    Ditto asombra,

    Look, he's not shutting down the flights to Cuba and that's further proof that Newt is bowing to those Republicans willing to do more commerce with Castro Inc. This is the part were Republicans simply don't get it, they need to stick to strong anti-Communist principles instead of diluting them.

    On one side we got Obama and the Democrats willing to please their Communist, Marxist, anti-American counterpart in Havana and the other we have the GOP that lacks the cojones to finally confront the Castro tyranny but, they(the GOP candidates) surely show up down here every four years to collectively kiss our asses while uttering empty promises that won't be kept. I cannot find the words to express how tired I'm of this unending political bullshit act.

    At the end we'll have Newt at Versailles, drinking his customary "cafecito" and shouting "Cuba Libre" while the US keeps making concessions to the Castro tyranny and the Cuban people remain slaves.

    I wish that influential Cuban-Americans in the GOP have the balls to give an earful once and for all to Newt(or whoever becomes the GOP nominee) on this issue.

    Time to takes the gloves and the niceties off and apply the pressure on the GOP to get result on Cuba.

  • mcse72

    He won't cancel the flights to Cuba!? He lost my vote. How in the world doesn't he realize that this helps support castro inc. & their repression machine? Allowing this horrible idea/experiment to continue is almost as bad as the dems that created it.

  • asombra

    As I said, it's moot. All we'll get, from Gingrich or anyone else, is election-time lip service. No point expecting more. Won't happen.

  • pototo

    So let me understand the points of GOP compromise.....
    We threw abortion out the window to "widen the field"
    We are considering surrendering on socialized medicine to keep Romney
    We are considering compromising on illeglas to keep Newt and Perry
    We are considering compromising on Cuba to get Newt
    It looks like "at least he is not Obama" is getting less inviting when we evaluate our choices.
    It won't stop until we stop electing rinos.

  • asombra

    Pototo, the available field is what it is. And Obama MUST go.

  • pototo

    Agreed, but within 20 years we will be voting for an Obama as a GOP candidate.
    So do we continue on the path and resign ourselves to the lesser of two evils? Even to the point that the lesser of the two evils is now the evil we used to hate?

  • asombra

    Well, there's always Marco Rubio. I hope.

  • FreedomForCuba

    pototo,

    You're right, the reason the GOP is in such sad shape today (and Obama in the oval office) is because the GOP has compromised its core values to a point of no return.

    Unfortunately this time we're going to have to hold our collective noses (or wear a gas mask, whatever helps tolerate the RINO stench) and vote for the GOP nominee because the consequences of abstaining are much worse.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Trust me guys, I wish Marco gets his act together and runs for higher office (for America's sake). I meet some members of his staff the other day I convey that message to them in no uncertain terms.

  • Honey

    There are many on our side who are emphatic. I asked Toomey how he feels about the Cuban embargo. Without missing a beat he said he won't lift it. This is true of many conservatives I ask. They get it.
    I am not Cuban, but I like some of what Newt says. He wants to push for the Castros to go and for elections to follow. He wants to use subversion and information for ordinary Cubans. He won't open trade relations until there is a free election. He doesn't support wet foot/dry foot. He obviously abhors communism and Castro but prefers to use subversion with ordinary Cubans.
    Radios for all? Well, someone ought to remind Newt about Alan Gross as far as that idea goes.

  • pototo

    FFC,
    I agree with you, but in reality we are saying that we no longer have a voice and never will. Our future is "thank you sir may I have another".

  • FreedomForCuba

    I understand pototo, it's very frustrating...

    Honey,

    The issue is that Newt will continue the current travel to Cuba policy that it has been expanding by the Obama administration and that policy is filling the coffers of Castro Inc. to continue their oppression on the Cuban people.

    These policies of trading with Castro Inc. prolongs the suffering of the Cuban people because these US policies of unilateral concessions does not force the Castro brothers on making any meaningful concession of their own. They haven't made any and they won't because they don't have the incentive to do so. On the other hand if the US were to tight the screws on Castro Inc. you may see a different outcome.

    It's a disgrace to the USA that Fidel and Raul Castro presently calls the shots on US-Cuba relations.

  • Honey

    I understand only too well how tourism helps the Castros.
    But Newt is almost there. He is persuadable. Instead of writing him off, get to him and talk to him. He has some good ideas and his heart is in the right place. He, I believe, can be persuaded to understand why the plane trips must be stopped to put pressure on the economy. He needs the conservative Cuban vote. Get Rubio to talk to him on this issue.
    It is very hard to find the perfect candidate on our issues. One who is moving up in the polls and sympathetic to a free Cuba should not be shunned, but cultivated. That's my point.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Honey,

    I mentioned in my previous post that we need to put pressure on the GOP nominee. The issue is that Newt should not have to be persuaded as his values(and instincts) should guide him into not doing business with Castro inc. But I guess his flip flopping side kicks in every now and then.

  • Fuzzy_Bunny

    "Newt is almost there. He is persuadable."

    As I recall, nearly Newt's entire campaign staff resigned en masse (due to irreconcilable differences)in June. Further, it has been noted that very few of his staff from 1989 to 1999 are supporting Newt's run for President, because these people know him to be obnoxious and egotistical ... basically, he does not sound very persuadable to me at all.

  • Honey

    What we need is a good articulate conservative who can take Obama on in the debates. Newt may be obnoxious and egotistical. Who isn't who runs for president. I'll take his egotistical obnoxiousness over Obama's any day. He promises to close lots of departments and cut spending dramatically. Did he say he would overturn Obamacare? I know Romney did. Has Newt promised that?
    Freedom, I didn't get the idea that Newt wanted to do business with the Castros. The first thing he said above is that if we say Assad must go, why can't we say the Castros must go.

  • FreedomForCuba

    "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. "

    Honey,

    Make no mistake about it, Newt will be doing business with the Castro tyranny (if elected to office) by not shooting down the air travel and "cultural exchanges" circus to Cuba that the Obama administration has embraced and expanded.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Honey,

    It is not enough to say Castro must go, we need a POTUS who finally takes concrete steps in the direction of removing the Castro brothers from power.

    I guarantee you that if Newt is elected he won't take the steps needed. He may not reestablish relations with the Castro tyranny but, he won't take the necessary steps to overthrow it either.

    Look at George W. Bush, did he do enough to unseat the Castro brothers?

    He could and did not, (that's the honest truth) and I'm tired that our so called "GOP allies" keep taking us for granted in this area of US foreign policy.

    Cuba doesn't need a US invasion, only needs a POTUS who ties the screws on the Castro tyranny in ways that has not been seen in a very long time.

    If a POTUS were to take these steps and bring the pressure inside Cuba it would turn the island into a pressure cooker and sooner than later the internal unrest will start and ignite into a popular revolt that will free the island from the Castro tyranny.

    But if these steps are not taken by a POTUS, forget about it...

  • Honey

    Freedom,
    In a perfect world of course you are right. Who among the candidates with all the mess that this administration has put this country into economically and internationally is the one who is going to do what must be done about Cuba when there is so much else to concentrate on fixing?
    Paul, we know will not. Huntsman, good on some issues, already announced something in a debate that made me think he would not.
    Romney, I think could be persuaded, but that would be one minute; could we be assured he would still be there the next minute? The other five (four if Cain drops out) must be persuaded to understand. Rather than say no, I won't vote for anyone who doesn't do the right thing, my point is we must get to the one we like best and persuade him or her to understand.
    Just because we know what is right and even easy to accomplish doesn't mean it will be a high priority of a candidate. To win Florida our candidate needs that Cuban vote. Time now to start informing the candidates so we can get them to commit to a sensible Cuban policy. Use that Florida primary well. Force a candidate to take a stand and say the right thing.
    Don't write them off. Get to them. Use the power you have. I do all the time. Whenever I meet candidates at a Club for Growth meeting or anywhere, I ask them where they stand on the embargo or on Cuba. Generally, except for congressman Flake, of course, they are the ones with us. There is no Club candidate in this race. So we have to make do with what we have. Influence them. Get to their campaigns. That's what must be done.
    I am reading a book about American indifference to Jews in Europe in the thirties. When people are in a depression, worrying about human rights far away is not a high priority. It may have been one for the Jews, but...you get what I'm trying to say. The only way this will be moved up to be a higher priority for a candidate is to motivate that candidate to see it that way. Getting into a funk and giving up doesn't work as well as hitting them politically or giving them the right info to move them to do the right thing.

  • asombra

    I wouldn’t shun Gingrich based on what he’s said regarding Cuba; no other candidate will do any better, and Obama is Obama. The point is Cuba is only really addressed (superficially) at election time, and we’d be crazy to expect any real action before we actually saw it happen. The US would only intervene if things got very dramatic (read violent) on the island and Castro, Inc. rolled out the tanks and was killing people right and left. Unless it becomes a Libya-type scenario, NOBODY anywhere will come out and clearly say “Yes, this is a bloody dictatorship that’s bad for Cuba and should be toppled, by force if necessary.” Remember the countless photos of Kadhafi with smiling and very friendly world leaders, which went on for years, until the shit finally hit the fan and those same leaders were forced to change their tune. So no, it doesn’t matter much what this or that candidate SAYS before the election. We’ve heard it all before. Repeatedly.

    But, let's be honest and fair, also. Freeing Cuba is first and foremost the responsibility of Cubans, not the POTUS or the US Congress. It's rather questionable to demand that the US government (or any foreign government) put more pressure on Cuba and hit Castro, Inc. where it hurts when, for practical purposes, Cubans themselves are NOT doing that, do not appear prepared to do it, and are, in fact, doing the opposite. Cubans abroad are clearly one of the main material supports of Castro, Inc. It does NOT matter what they SAY against the regime, and many of them don't even do that. The regime doesn't give a shit about words or symbolic gestures. It wants money and goods and an escape valve for discontent in Cuba. As long as it gets enough of that, well, you do the math.

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