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Flip-flop or evolution? Paul Ryan's Cuban-embargo stance could be a sore point in Miami-Dade

When Republican candidates typically come to Miami, they stoke anti-Castro sentiment by promising a to work toward a free Cuba, usually by pledging support for the Cuban embargo.

Is Paul Ryan, the newly minted Republican vice-presidential pick, one of those candidates?

The Wisconsin Congressman has voted at least three times in opposition to the embargo. A handful of current and former Republican Cuban-American lawmakers, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of bucking their own party, told The Miami Herald that Ryan’s record on the Cuban embargo might disappoint Cuban voters, who comprise 72 percent of the GOP electorate in Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county.

Of course, many wanted to see the exile community's most-prominent politician, Sen. Marco Rubio, on the ticket.

“How could you pass over Marco and pick someone who’s anti-embargo?” one asked. “This might snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Ryan voted at least twice in 2001 and 2004 against the embargo, but since 2007 he has opposed efforts to lift it, said Mauricio Claver-Carone, a conservative blogger and executive director of Cuba Democracy Advocates.

“He needed to be educated about the embargo,” Claver-Carone said. “He’s good on Cuba.”

Still, in 2009, Ryan still seemed opposed to the embargo when he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "If we’re going to have free trade with China, why not Cuba?" Ryan’s philosophical opposition to the embargo is rooted in the politics of the Midwest, which sees trade opportunities with Cuba.

"I don't know those words, but I know his record. And it is strong," said Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a former Congressman and prominent voice in the exile community.

“He was a free-trader and we explained to him the human-rights and terrorist record of the Cuban dictatorship,” Diaz-Balart said. “His record ever since is one of a strong supporter for freedom in Cuba. He is a strong ally."

Some Hispanic Democrats are making some political hay out of this anonymous Romney adviser's comments in Politico where he said "This was all Mitt's decision. These are two guys who love data, and have a similar way of looking at the world. ... Mitt isn't thinking about Ohio or the Hispanic vote. He's thinking: 'I'm gonna be president. Who's going to help me succeed?'

So Rubio's just about the Hispanic vote, eh?

Probably not. But in the hothouse of a campaign, expect opponents to try to wedge Hispanics, especially when there's a "lily-white ticket" in the words of one Cuban-American Republican consultant.


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Steven Avila2011

Please cite this fact: "...might disappoint Cuban voters, who comprise 72 percent of the GOP electorate in Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county."

I believe you meant HISPANICS not just Cuban-American voters make up 72 percent of the GOP electorade in the county. Thanks!

Thomas One

Marco Rubio is a freshman and his entry into the race is akin to Sarah Palin's. I am not sure if the Latin Americans favor Marco as he had taken a strong anti immigration stance prior to more recent softening. That was wise move. Marco also has some serious baggage. I like that Ryan has an economist's mind and i dont associate him as a hardlline Republican although Republicans might think he is.

Both Romney and Ryan can have the economy as Job #1, with the deficit on a different track than Obama's. They should aim at the middle. If the extreme right of the Party have a problem with the pair they can always let Obama win but the guys need to not waste amy more time pandering to the extreme right- the middle has to be the target.


Um ... last I checked ... as much as all my Cuban friends don't want to admit it ... the economic embargo has not brought down the evil Castro regime.

How many decades of proof does it take for those who rightly hate Castro and his minions to comprehend that?

That embargo was put in place in 1962, before I was born, and I'm old now, and the corrupt, communist Castro family and their cronies still own Cuba and treat the Cuban people like serfs, abusing any who speak out for freedom like criminals.

That authoritarian regime and its police state with its payola to community snitches and hardline tactics--despite the embargo--has succeeded for 50 years in surppressing any chance for a "spring" like we have seen in the Arab world.

And it's all Kennedy, the Democrat's, fault for not having followed through with a successful invasion to save Cuba from communism.

Now we could invade Cuba and kick the regime out of power and bring true freedom to Cuba, if the Cuban Americans are willing to enlist and provide the foot soldiers ...

Or we can trade with Cuba, get their people used to the benefits of economic development, and use our finance to supplant the regime's popular support. When the Castro clan and its cronies try to cut itself in on the deals like mobsters, then we pull the trigger and take them down. We should make them an offer they can't refuse.

Tod Edmondson


Humberto Capiro

ECONOMIC EYE ON CUBA- February 2012 - Report For Calendar Year 2011

The following is the data for exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba relating to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSRA) of 2000, which re-authorized the direct commercial (on a cash basis) export of food products (including branded food products) and agricultural products (commodities) from the United States to the Republic of Cuba, irrespective of purpose. The TSRA does not include healthcare products, which remain authorized by the Cuban Democracy Act (CDA) of 1992.

The data represents the U.S. Dollar value of product exported from the United States to the Republic of Cuba under the auspice of TSRA. The data does not include transportation charges, bank charges, or other costs associated with exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba. The government of the Republic of Cuba reports data that, according to the government of the Republic of Cuba, includes transportation charges, bank charges, and other costs. However, the government of the Republic of Cuba has not provided verifiable data. The use of trade data reported by the government of the Republic of Cuba is suspect. The government of the Republic of Cuba has been asked to provide verifiable data, but has not.



Robert M.

Lots of quotes and opinions from "unidentified" individuals, but much ado about nothing. This is another example of making up a story out of thin air.

Marcos Sendon

Once again Mark Caputo is all about inciting controversy and helping is liberal buddies. How about citing the bill numbers..? Post them so we can see the context of the vote. Those votes probably were in opposotion to other parts of a bill since no line item veto exists. Shabby job.

Marcos Sendon
Editor, SflaConservative.com


@stevenavila2011: I believe he is right that Cubans make up 72% of the GOP electorate in Miami-Dade County. The majority of the counties primarily hispanic demographic is not necessarily Republican.

Walter Lippmann

Ever since the beginning, neither Democrats nor Republicans have accepted Cuba's right to develop itself as an independent country. The differences between Republicans and Democrats are nothing more than tactical divergences over how best to subdue the rebellious island.

So far, and we're only at the start of a second half-century, Cuba has succeeded in holding off the far more powerful colossus to its north, one which continues to occupy a sliver of Cuba's national territory, and which brazenly asserts Washington's right to crush the island and re-impose capitalism there.

Today we can only look at Afghanistan, at Libya and at Iraq to see what a Washington-imposed regime change would look like in on the island of Cuba.

It wouldn't be any surprise to find somewhere in his past that Mitt Romney, too, had favored a softening of US policy toward Cuba, as a better way to bring about regime-change on the island. Let the researchers begin.

Michael Wind

flip flop paper picture of mary and posted as marc,and written as democratic party propaganda to the republican nomination,hello.


So Ryan was right about Cuba before, now he's gone full loony to the right. Sounds like most of the GOP.

luis segui

50yr USA/Cuba Embargo=Terrorism American Style

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