U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan got the Cuban exile seal of approval Saturday at a campaign rally in Little Havana where he pledged to hold a hard line against the Castro regime.
The Republican vice presidential candidate did not mention that he once opposed the U.S. trade embargo against the island, but he pointed to his change of heart — prompted by Miami’s current and former Cuban-American Republicans in Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart.
“They’ve given me a great education — lots of us in Congress — about how we need to clamp down on the Castro regime,” Ryan told supporters at the Versailles restaurant. “We will be tough on Castro, tough on [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chávez.”
Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, has voted against the embargo at least three times. The Midwest tends to see trade opportunities in agriculture with Cuba.
Ryan said he and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney would take a different approach.
“We will not keep practicing this policy of appeasement,” Ryan said. “We will be tough on this brutal dictator.”