Tuesday, November 4, 2008

May the Best Candidate Win

Good luck to both candidates on this very exciting Election Day. May voters have chosen wisely and to the best of their abilities. Even after elections are over, there is still a long road ahead.

Concerning US-Cuba relations, here are the candidates in their own words.

Sen. John McCain:

"If I'm elected President, I won't meet unconditionally with the Castro brothers, while they keep political prisoners in jail, stifle free media and block free elections in Cuba. When I am President, we are going to pressure the Cuban government to free their people. The day is coming when Cuba will be free." (Oct. 17, 2008)

"I would increase [funding to] Radio Marti, increase TV Marti, increase the condemnation of this dictatorial regime. But, if you're asking me if I will send in troops for military action... I don't know." (March 21, 2007)

Sen. Barack Obama:

"I support the eventual normalization [with Cuba]. And it’s absolutely true that I think our policy has been a failure. I mean, the fact is, is that during my entire lifetime... you essentially have seen a Cuba that has been isolated, but has not made progress when it comes to the issues of political rights and personal freedoms that are so important to the people of Cuba. So I think that we have to shift policy. I think our goal has to be, ultimately, normalization. But that’s going to happen in steps. And the first step, as I said, is changing our rules with respect to remittances and with respect to travel... the Bush administration has done so much damage to American foreign relations that the president [must] take a more active role in diplomacy than might have been true 20 or 30 years ago.

"Because the problem is, if we think that meeting with the president [of the United States] is a privilege that has to be earned, I think that reinforces the sense that we stand above the rest of the world at this point in time. And I think that it’s important for us in undoing the damage that has been done over the last seven years, [and] for the president to be willing to take that extra step." (February 21, 2008)