Can Romney keep his promises on Cuba?

| May 21 2012
Christopher Cook

Yesterday, Mitt Romney made his position on Cuba clear:

When Romney says . . .

Too many Independence Day celebrations have passed with that regime still clinging to power.

And too many political leaders—on both sides of the aisle—have lauded the dream of a free Cuba on this day over the years, only to falter in realizing that dream once in office.

In recent years, we have seen the United States back away from pressuring the Castro regime, under the misguided view that placating them with an open hand would yield progress. That naiveté has invited only more cruelty and oppression in return.

Today, we join Cubans around the world in celebrating independence and remembering the brave men and women who gave their lives in the fight for freedom. And to those who continue the fight, I offer not only words of support, but the promise of action.

. . . he appears to be laying out a proactive position on Cuba. But will he follow through? Will he be able to follow through on his promise of action?

This morning, Heritage offers a potential pathway to fulfilling that promise:

Yesterday marked the 110th year of Cuba’s independence, but sadly 53 of those years have been spent under the Castros’ dictatorship. Political opposition is not tolerated, those who stand against the regime are harassed and persecuted, all forms of media and communications are under government control, and freedoms of speech and association are suppressed.

There is hope for Cuba. In a new paper, Heritage’s Ray Walser writes that the Castro regime is on the verge of extinction but is working to ensure the country’s communist system continues. He advises that the United States should stand for freedom and press for genuine democracy in Cuba. That means not appeasing the dictatorial regime, backing genuine economic transformation, challenging Cuba’s information blockade, and establishing clear yardsticks for democratic change, including independent political parties, free and fair elections, freedom of information, expression, and association, and respect for human rights.

Can Mitt Romney help end a stalemate that has been in place for a half-century, helping to break open a county that is frozen in socialist amber? His record in business and politics suggest he is ready and willing to take on big challenges, and perhaps if he follows the right steps, he may just be able to do something that ten of his predecessors could not.

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