Earlier this month, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stated, “Those of us who believe in freedom and cherish democracy must do our part … and denounce the injustices and cruelties of the Castro tyranny.”
At Thursday night’s Republican debate, Romney elaborated on the policy he would implement in regards to Cuba if elected.
Romney has picked up a number of Cuban-American endorsers, so it should come as no surprise that he laid out an aggressive stance towards Castro’s Cuba. At Thursday’s debate in Florida he also focused some attention on President Obama’s policies on the Communist nation.
“This president has decided to give a gift, to Castro, to allow remittances to come from the United States to go into Cuba and help the economy of Cuba. He’s allowed more traveling into Cuba. Showing that olive branch if you will,” Romney stated Thursday. “And how has it been met? It is met with a man, Wilman Villar, who must sacrifice his own life through his hunger strike, with many, many people being oppressed in prison.”
Romney was referring to 31-year-old Wilman Villar, who died after a 56-day hunger strike. Vilar was a Cuban dissident arrested on Nov. 12, 2011. He was later convicted of disrespecting authority and resisting arrest, and was sentenced to four years in prison. He is among a number of people, many believe are being held simply for standing up to a government they disagree with.
“If I’m fortunate to become the next president of the United States it is my expectation that Fidel Castro will finally be taken off this planet. I doubt he’ll take any time in the sky he’ll find a nether region to be more to his comfort.
“This president does not understand that by helping Castro, he is not helping the people of Cuba he is hurting them, he is not putting forward a policy of freedom, he is accommodating and encouraging a policy of oppression, and if I’m President of the United States, we will return to Helms-Burton and the law, and we will not give Castro any gifts.”
In a column published Wednesday, Fidel Castro lambasted the Republican race saying, “The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is – and I mean this seriously – the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been.”
So while Romney and the other Republican presidential candidates may not be fans of Castro, it appears the feeling is mutual.
Thursday’s debate was the last leading up to the Republican primary on January 31st.