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:
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.