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. Reader in So. California

    I feel safer now knowing that Romney will protect us from Russia and Ryan will protect us from Cuba.

    September 22, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |

    Lyin Ryan. Snooki Palin in pants on fire.

    September 22, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. CanadaONE

    there Ryan goes again trying to start a war -- him and the Mitt will attracked more enimies of the US to do something desperate...

    these guys are dangerous – seriously hope you do not vote them in so ouir kids can continue to live for another generation

    September 22, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Martha in CF

    Isn't Ryan just one tough dude??????? He's a compromise there.......

    September 22, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. Sam

    You guys can try all the tricks in your playbook....we won't forget about how Mitt has insulted 47% of the country as being beggars, how he has refused to let us the citizens be the judge of what his tax returns hold, instead thinks he can exclude himself from how other transparent other candidates portray themselves, and how Ann Romney referred to the American people, who deserve the rights to know and make judgements on his returns as "you people".

    September 22, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. WB

    So we should invade Cuba??

    September 22, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Karl Jonas

    Does Lying Ryan know the first thing about... well, anything?? Policy of appeasement? It's the SAME policy as Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan... There's still an embargo in place since the 1960's. So what are Lying Ryan and Romney going to do to "get tough" on Fidel Castro? Invade Cuba? We tried that once and how well did that work? Of course Lying Ryan wasn't even born yet when the Bay of Pigs went down, so how would he know?

    Oh, and last time I checked, Fidel Castro isn't running Cuba any more, Raul Castro is.

    September 22, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Curt

    Is it not kind of ironic that people like Ryan slam Castro and Cuba but don't mind borrowing money from China. Maybe Ryan should go to Cuba. The people are friendly, very well educated, have great health care. Certainly there are problems but give it a break. The cold war was over years ago. Learn from history Ryan, Castro was able to come to power because the people were sick of a corrupt government where the very few rich benefited and the average Cuban suffered. Sound familiar?

    September 22, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Lar5

    To all who Latinos who listened to Ryan. Beware of false and lying prophets. The GOP and republicans in the latest poll believe 65% of all Latinos are illegals and should be deported. Ryan is not your friend

    September 22, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    Does this idiot know as to Where is Cuba?????????????

    September 22, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. 200 TON HAMMER

    cuba ryan one day shall be a free island nation,hundreds of trillions of dallors shall flow through cuba after the old leadership goes off line forever,cuba has a brite future
    real estate shall be bigger then real estate that is in Dubai

    September 22, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Phil Thomas

    These guys are professional hecklers not candidates, give people substance and stop attacking a sitting president with ever breath. No wonder people are done with these clowns

    September 22, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Ryan , Pandering to the Miami Cubans !

    Castro , the longest living dictator is almost dead or will be , and so will Chavez ?

    And Ryan talks a big load ! Castro , Chavez , they are clowns , and so is Romney and Ryan .

    Cuba hasn't been a threat for the last 20 years. The best policy would be to stop trade sanctions on Cuba , dose anybody know who Cuba's 5th greatest Trading partner is , guess ," Israel " ! It's time to give every cuban an old 4g iPhone and let the freedom ring !

    Look at Rubio , all he dose is text and tweet !

    September 22, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. 2012liberal

    The people will change washington. And we will start with the likes of u ryan. No worries!

    September 22, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. MadGOPer

    Really out of touch... Raul Castro is in charge and is slowly allowing reforms to occur. Chavez may be dead soon or resign due to complications from his cancer situation.

    September 22, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  16. boo

    he looks like eddie monster

    September 22, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. John Hix

    Seems like Ryan had way too much coffee before running his mouth about Cuba. Castro is not even runninng the country any more, his brother is. But Bush had it right about Romney coming back to Florida. Once he looses both elections and is unemployed he can camp out on the beach.

    September 22, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. jinx88

    Can this election get over with? I am sick of Ryan already. He is just as bad as Palin.

    September 22, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. B.

    If Ryan and Romney had their way we would Still be in a Cold War, which after Romney’s ill-informed comments about Russia proves that he is still IN a cold War!

    At some point you have to let go of mindless obsolete doctrine and move Forward ,and Ryan and Romney Do Not Get It..

    They are both "The Wrong Stuff" for America.

    September 22, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Chris Alexander

    Ryan, who admittedly has no foreign policy experience, kowtows to his contributors and neo-con policy zealots who would rush to make a hot mess of global diplomacy the minute they took office. Rational Americans who understand that the Cold War is over have yet another reason to vote for Obama. Having directly caused deprivation of the Cuban people for half a century, it is past time for the U.S. to move toward normal relations with Cuba.

    September 22, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. SafeJourney

    Mitt the twit and Lyin Ryan are done. Do Americans a favor and pack it up a go home

    September 22, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. dahdit

    Could Rom n Ry get any more 'Bushie'? Same handlers, same Rove, same endorsements, their even 'family' now.

    September 22, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. 'Ammazing Joe Biden'

    When campaigning in NH Joe laid-out all that the Romney/Ryan ticket "Will or will not do"...but when it comes to the
    Obama/Biden ticket what they will do...poor Joe has no CLUE..Neither does Pres Obama "No Clue what they will
    do to lift the country out of the bottomless financial abyss..................

    September 22, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. SC

    Ryan should shut up and sit down. He and Palin are alike just airheads. Not smart at all.

    September 22, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Starting fights already?

    September 22, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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