@MarcACaputo and @adamsmithtimes
In a move that would have been unthinkable for any statewide Florida candidate just a few years ago, Charlie Crist is planning to visit Cuba this summer.
Nothing is final, but the Democratic candidate for governor is eager to learn more about Cuba as he calls for normalizing relations with the island 90 miles south of Key West.
“We ought to think big. We ought to lift the embargo on Cuba and work with the president and get things done,” Crist said earlier this week during a visit to the Versailles Restaurant in Miami, where he didn’t disclose that he’s considering a visit to the island.
The Little Havana landmark, a frequent Republican campaign spot and exile gathering place, is the last place where you would expect to hear soft-on-embargo positions.
Crist, too, used to support the embargo and backed it as late as 2010 in his failed U.S. Senate bid as a Republican.
Crist’s new position — the latest in a string of reversals — was instantly panned by Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his newly appointed lieutenant governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
“He’s been a Republican. He has been an independent and a Democrat,” Lopez-Cantera said at a campaign stop Wednesday in Miami. “There’s one party left in Cuba that maybe he’s considering switching to: the Communist Party.”
“It just shows Charlie’s ignorance on the issue of Cuba,” Lopez-Cantera said, adding that that his “family lost everything” and that his grandmother’s brothers were imprisoned by the Castro regime.
Scott said Crist would be a “puppet” of the Castro regime and would help enrich it simply by traveling there.