Tough talk on Cuba from Paul Ryan
September 22nd, 2012
02:04 PM ET
10 years ago

Tough talk on Cuba from Paul Ryan

Miami (CNN) - During a visit to Little Havana with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan criticized President Barack Obama for engaging in a "policy of appeasement" with Cuba and vowed that a Romney-Ryan administration would be tough on the Castro regime.

"We will not keep practicing this policy of appeasement; we will be tough on this brutal dictator. All it has done is it rewarded more despotism," Ryan said Saturday.

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During his visit to the Cuban restaurant Versailles – a must-stop for any politician hoping to reach out to Miami's diverse Latino community – Ryan said, "We will be tough on Castro, tough on Chavez," referring to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The 14-year congressman from Wisconsin said he learned about Cuba policy from fellow Republican lawmakers who appeared with him in Little Havana, including Florida Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

"I learned from these friends, from Mario, from Lincoln, from Ileana, just how brutal the Castro regime is, just how this president's policy of appeasement is not working. They've given me a great education, lots of us in Congress, about how we need to clamp down on the Castro regime, "Ryan said.

The biggest political heavyweight to join Ryan was Bush, Florida's very popular former governor who did not endorse Mitt Romney until after the Florida primary and has not appeared with his party's presidential nominee.

But Bush drank cups of Cafe Colatta with Ryan before addressing restaurant patrons in English and Spanish. Ryan's Spanish remarks at the event were limited to the words "muchas gracias."

"I need to teach Paul one word in Spanish," Bush said as it was pouring rain outside. "Here we call this 'una aguacera.' This was just a little tropical rainstorm. This is a nice day for us, but paradise is most of the time so don't think that Miami's weather is like this all the time. Normally it's perfect, and when you come back as vice president of the United States we'll prove it to you."

Bush praised Romney for being a "good family person."

"Family matters a lot for all of us, and a guy can't be that bad when he's got a beautiful wife, great kids. He loves his family more than anybody could ever describe. That is what we need in the White House," Bush said when he was introduced by Craig Romney, Romney's youngest son who is also bilingual.

As the politicians worked the room, Bush said he believed Republicans were going to carry the crucial battleground state.

"I feel good. I think Romney is going to carry Florida," he said.

Ryan slammed an interview President Barack Obama did with Univision.

"President Obama admitted that he can't change Washington from the inside," he said. "Why do we send presidents to the White House in the first place?"

Ryan continued, "I mean, we send presidents to change and fix the mess in Washington. And if this president has admitted that he can't change Washington, then you know what, we need to change presidents."

Obama campaign press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Saturday that the Obama Administration had “repeatedly renewed the trade regime with Cuba” and “pressured the Castro regime to give its people more say in their own future,” as well as allowed people in America to visit their family members in Cuba.

“Keeping these families apart would do nothing to weaken the Castro regime," Psaki said. "That’s what the Romney-Ryan ticket wants to do - they need to explain to the hundreds of thousands of Cuban Americans who’ve been reunited with their families why they want to keep them apart.”

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Filed under: 2012 • Cuba • Florida • Jeb Bush • Paul Ryan
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. BeverlyNC

    Cuba nor Castro is any threat to the U.S. In fact we have the best chance ever to create trade agreements, family reuniting, and friendly cooperation with Cuba as Castro reaches the end of his life. Republicans are always looking for war, a fight, and to create conflict. This is why I don't want ANY Republican near ANY local, state, or national seat. They are always creating problems where none exist. President Obama has done a wonderful job with foreign policy, created new relationships with nations all over the world and re-established respect for the U.S. Enough of these Republicans and their hate. Haven't we had enough Republican/Bush wars for a lifetime? I stand with President Obama who seeks peace and cooperation.

    September 22, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. JHC

    I thought it quite interesting when watching a clip of Ryan this morning scratch his neck while speaking. Body language studies tell us that this is a sign of doubt or uncertainty and is very noticeable to others when you are saying something you do not believe in your own words. It indicates deception and dis-belief in his own statement. Lying causes a subtle tingling in the face and neck so the gesture of Ryan's scratching the neck with his index finger is an attempt to eliminate that feeling.

    September 22, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. Jane

    No one is thinking about Castro and Castro is not thinking about us.....These repubs with their worn out ideals are still fighting ancient wars

    September 22, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Dnick47

    These two idiots think a quick draw solves everything just like GWB did. Problem is that is creates more problems then it solves especially when the conflicts are not paid for and there is not definitive strategy in place so the military knows when it has achieved its objective and can pull out.

    September 22, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. fernace

    How can a man running for 1 of the highest offices in the nation be so uninformed? He wants to "be tough on this brutal dictator," Fidel Castro, he says, except...the Cuban Prime Minister is now his younger brother Raul Castro & has been since 08! Fidel is a fragile octogenarian who stepped down due to health reasons! Obama is working w/the current Cuban Administration, while the 2 R's are still living in the past! Oh, & btw, there is also no more Soviet Union; it's just Russia now, a nation still trying to adjust to a more democratic system! Forward to the Future,Obama Nov. 6!!

    September 22, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Pragmatic

    @Reader in So. California

    good one

    September 22, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Sid Prejean

    :"Getting tough on Cuba" just proves that these guys are just not ready.
    Just a little hint about foreign policy: The capital of the United States is neither South Miami nore Jerusalem.

    September 22, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. DorisV

    This man is just a war monger. I fear for all the world if Dumb and Dumber aka Romney/Ryan get elected.

    September 22, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. LouAZ

    Ha ! Ha ! Ha ! Until about two weeks ago, Phony Rayn did not even know where Cuba was. Para Salin had to tell him.

    September 22, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Thomas

    he looks like eddie monster.

    I said that first !
    A grown up Eddie !

    September 22, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Republican who supports President Obama

    Does he remember that we have a prison in CUBA? Does he realize the Chavez's gas and fuel is imported here to the US? What a joke.

    Such a fake.

    September 22, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Ricardo

    Poor Ryan, he's so naive

    September 22, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Craig Quirolo

    Let me guess Ryan is in Miami...... say whatever to whomever when the time is right.. The Cuban people are starving and these Expatriated Cubans could give a flying about their families left behind on Castro's Cuban prison.... If they or Ryan had any cajones they would be talking about 'Dancing with SEALS' a program we need to export to Cuba.

    September 22, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Donkey Party

    Another day, another day of extreme lying and pandering by the Romney / Ryan clowns.

    September 22, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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