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Mitt Romney on Cuba and Latin America

January 26, 2012

Mitt Romney will adopt a clear policy toward the Cuban regime: no accommodation, no appeasement. The United States should not relent until the day when the Castros’ regime meets its end and their history is written among the world's most reviled despots, tyrants, and frauds. The North Star that guides Mitt Romney’s policy toward the island is the realizable dream of a free Cuba.

Unfortunately, President Obama has adopted a strategy of appeasement toward the Castro regime. He unilaterally relaxed sanctions without making any demands of the regime. Predictably, the Castros responded to these naïve concessions by tightening their grip on the island and by taking an American, Alan Gross, as a political prisoner. Now, increased travel and remittances to Cuba prop up a regime desperate for foreign currency.

Mitt Romney will break sharply with President Obama’s appeasement strategy. Mitt Romney believes unilateral concessions to a dictatorial regime are counterproductive, helping to secure a succession of power and greater repression instead of a transition to freedom. Mitt Romney will send a strong message to both the regime and the Cuban people that the United States stands with the courageous pro-democracy movement on the island, and that our support will never waver. Mitt Romney’s policy toward Cuba will include:

Reinstating Travel & Remittance Restrictions. Mitt Romney will reinstate the 2004 travel and remittance restrictions that President Obama naively lifted.

Adhering to the Helms-Burton Act. Mitt Romney will strictly adhere to the Helms-Burton Act, including Title III, to place maximum pressure on the Cuban regime.

Demanding Release of Alan Gross. Mitt Romney will demand the immediate release of Alan Gross.

Democracy Promotion Programs. Mitt Romney will fully fund and effectively implement democracy promotion programs to support Cuba’s brave pro-democracy movement.

Breaking the Information Blockade. Mitt Romney will commit to breaking the information blockade the Castro regime places on the Cuban people. He will order effective use of Radio and TV Marti’s broadcasts to the island and employ robust Internet, social media, and other innovative steps to bring information to the Cuban people and help them send information out.

Publicly Naming Oppressors. Mitt Romney will publicly identify by name those police officers, prison officials, judges, state security personnel, and regime officials who mistreat, torture, and oppress the Cuban people so they know they will be held individually accountable.

Holding the Castros Accountable for the Brothers to the Rescue Shoot Down. Mitt Romney will explore all avenues — including criminal indictment — to ensure that Fidel and Raul Castro are held accountable for the killing of four Americans in the downing of the Brothers to the Rescue airplanes.

Mitt Romney recognizes the wider threat to freedom posed by the anti-American Bolivarian movement across Latin America that is led by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and the Castro brothers. This movement threatens the principles enshrined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter and poses a serious national security threat to U.S. regional allies and the U.S. homeland in the form of an enhanced drug-terror nexus. Mitt Romney will pursue a resolute policy toward Latin America that will include:

Bolstering the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter will form the cornerstone of U.S. policy in the hemisphere. There will never be a Cuban exception to the Charter.

Campaign for Economic Opportunity in Latin America. In his first 100 days, Mitt Romney will launch a vigorous public diplomacy and trade promotion effort in the region — the Campaign for Economic Opportunity in Latin America (CEOLA) — to extol the virtues of democracy and free trade and contrast them with the ills of the model offered by Cuba and Venezuela.

Hemispheric Joint Task Force on Crime & Terrorism. Mitt Romney will form a unified Hemispheric Joint Task Force on Crime and Terrorism to coordinate intelligence and law enforcement among our allies against regional terrorist groups and criminal networks.

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