Republican Presidential Candidates Talk Cuba at Tampa Debate
I missed the umpteenth Republican presidential primary debate in Tampa tonight, which is a shame because all four of the remaining candidates addressed the subject of Cuba, specifically, how would they respond to the (hypothetical) news of Fidel Castro’s death.
Well, I didn’t miss much, with Gingrich, Santorum and Romney all singing on the same broken record. Lacking any substantive answers at all, Gingrich and Santorum calculated you can’t go wrong with a hard right turn, with the Castros' deaths being lynchpin to any change in the U.S. or Cuba. Santorum picked up on reports (unsubstantiated) of jihadists in Cuba's close ally, Venezuela, and Gingrich talked about covert ops to take down the Cuban government should Fidel Castro pass away. Romney offered up this vacuous comment:
"You work very aggressively with new leadership and try to move them forward to a more open degree."
Seems no one told Romney, or the other candidates, that Fidel Castro isn’t in charge in Cuba anymore and that the new leadership – or what passes for it - is already comfortably established in Havana. The major psychologicial shift got under way when Fidel fell ill in the summer of 2006 and handed power temporarily to his brother and Defense Minister, Raul Castro. Once Raul Castro officially became president in 2008, and Fidel chose not to interfere (at least publicly) in his brother’s handling of domestic affairs, the shift was complete.
Just one candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, said not what he thinks people want to hear but what he thinks they need to hear - his honest opinion:
"We're living in the dark ages when we can't even talk to the Cuban people.”