Last updated on: 10/22/2015 11:14:09 AM PST
Should the United States Maintain Its Embargo against Cuba?
"We have arrived at a decisive moment. The Cuban people have waited long enough for progress to come. Even many Republicans on Capitol Hill are starting to recognize the urgency of moving forward. It’s time for their [Cuba's] leaders to either get on board or get out of the way.
[Editor's Note: Clinton previously expressed a PRO opinion on this question. Read Clinton's former position on the Cuba embargo]
The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all. We should replace it with a smarter approach that empowers the Cuban private sector, Cuban civil society, and the Cuban-American community to spur progress and keep pressure on the regime.
Today I am calling on Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell to step up and answer the pleas of the Cuban people. By large majorities, they want a closer relationship with America. They want to buy our goods, read our books, surf our web, and learn from our people. They want to bring their country into the 21st century. That is the road toward democracy and dignity. We should walk it together."
Source: Alex Leary, "Hillary Clinton in Miami: 'The Cuba Embargo Needs to Go, Once and for All,'" www.tampabay.com, July 31, 2015
"While reasonable people can disagree about the negotiations that were involved, easing restrictions and opening the door to broader economic and cultural relations with Cuba is the right thing to do — and long overdue.
Free markets, open communications and opportunities for the Cuban people to see the benefits of a less antagonistic relationship with the U.S. will accomplish that which five decades of barriers clearly has not accomplished.
Make no mistake, the Castro regime has done nothing to deserve reward. But the Cuban people have done nothing to deserve being locked out of the opportunities that a better relationship with the U.S. will bring.
The free market is a more powerful, and certainly more positive, force for good than is a government-imposed embargo. Congress should act to remove the barriers the President cannot remove administratively, and end the failed policy of trying to reform another nation by isolating it."
Source: Our America Initiative, "Governor Gary Johnson on Easing Relations with Cuba: 'The Free Market Is a More Powerful Force for Good Than Is a Government-Imposed Embargo,'" Our America Initiative Tumblr, Dec. 19, 2014
"OnTheIssues: What do you think about lifting the Cuban embargo?...
Stein: It was long overdue--it was time to end our economic & political warfare against Cuba. We need to be respecting their right to self-determination. We should go there without intent to interfere in their national process of deciding what kind of government, what kind of food and entertainment they have--we should respect the choices that the Cuban people have made."
Source: On The Issues, "Jill Stein on Foreign Policy," ontheissues.org, July 6, 2015
"I think it's [easing restrictions on Cuba] fine. I think it's fine, but we should have made a better deal. The concept of opening with Cuba — 50 years is enough — the concept of opening with Cuba is fine. I think we should have made a stronger deal."
Source: Jamie Weinstein, "Donald Trump on His Nuclear Doctrine, Democracy Promotion and Why He Refuses to Use Term 'Supreme Leader,'" dailycaller.com, Sep. 7, 2015
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria
appear below in black and white and in alphabetical order.)
"Secretary Clinton's call to abandon the embargo – and the principles of democracy and freedom for the Cuban people – in exchange for nothing in return from the regime in Havana adds insult to the pain they and their families feel…
The Obama-Clinton policy is rooted in a false narrative that paints the embargo as a relic of the Cold War. They claim to want to free Cuba from the past, but they misunderstand the present. The Cuban people are not imprisoned by the past, they are imprisoned by the Castro regime...
Hillary Clinton had it right when she once said – consistent with the law of the land – that removing the embargo should come only when Cuba is on the path to democracy…
I long for the day when the Cuban people are free from oppression and free to choose their own leaders, and, if elected President, I will be committed to helping them achieve that long-denied liberty."
Source: Jeb Bush, "Statement: Jeb Bush on Hillary Clinton's Endorsement of Ending Cuban Embargo," jeb2016.com (accessed Sep. 30, 2015)
"There is no doubt that the Castro regime has a long history of repression, despotism and brutality that has forced countless Cubans to seek refuge in our country in search of a better life. I do not share your view that restoring diplomatic relations without a clear commitment from the Cuban government of the steps they will take to reverse decades of human rights violations will result in a better and more just Cuba for its people."
Source: Carla Baranauckas, "Christie to Obama: Demand Cuba Return Cop Killer Joanne Chesimard," northjersey.com, Dec. 21, 2014
"My family knows this hard truth about Cuba all too well. My father was imprisoned and tortured by Batista, and my aunt was imprisoned and tortured by Castro. Both fled for America and for freedom...
[T]his week, President Obama announced he is unilaterally undoing more than half a century of bi-partisan U.S. policy towards Cuba and reducing economic sanctions before the Castros make a single meaningful concession...
Rather than vague promises of exploring political liberalization, the United States should demand that the political opposition to the Castros be included in any and all negotiations with Cuba, so their concerns will be fully heard and their priorities addressed. Otherwise there will be no incentive for the Castro regime to engage in necessary political reforms.
Rather than unilaterally lifting the economic embargo on Cuba, the United States should calibrate any relaxation of sanctions directly to the cessation of their repression and human rights violations. Otherwise, American dollars will flow exclusively into the Castros' pockets while the Cuban people have no relief."
Source: Ted Cruz, "Help the Cuban Opposition, Not the Castros," time.com, Dec. 18, 2014
"Normalizing relations with Cuba is bad idea at a bad time."
Source: Katie Glueck and Seung Min Kim, "Republicans Livid over Cuba Talks," www.politico.com, Dec. 17, 2014
"These are untrustworthy people who have never kept an agreement in their lives. They oppress their people, they kick their people in the groin. You don't go around and make friends and nice with people who do horrible things. You put pressure on them. You don't release the pressure... My gosh, if my parents had raised me that way—I'd have been a monster. My parents corrected my bad behavior, they didn't encourage it by rewarding me with ice cream and candy every time I did something horrible. So when you've got the Iranians or the Cubans doing terrible things to their people, you don't give them ice cream and candy, for Heaven's sake."
[Editor's Note: Huckabee previously expressed a CON opinion on this question. Read Huckabee's former position on the Cuba embargo]
Source: Jesse Byrnes, "Huckabee: US Giving Iran and Cuba 'Ice Cream and Candy,'" thehill.com, Mar. 7, 2015
"When Cuba joins the rest of the civilized world in how it treats its people... That's the kind of country that I'm interested in us having a relationship with. And the embargo serves as leverage for us to be able to accomplish that...
Cuba trades with every other country in the world. The fact of the matter is that the U.S. embargo is not the reason their economy is failing. Their economy is failing because they've embraced a combination of socialism and incompetence, which may be an oxymoron because they're both the same thing...
What's happening now is that the Castro government is using travel and exile travel as a way to fund its repressive regime... And it also provides a source of hard currency for the Castro regime. They use the dollars from remittances and from travel to fund their repressive operation. I think it was wrong to lift those travel restrictions."
Source: Human Events, "Exclusive Human Events Interview with Marco Rubio," humanevents.com, May 7, 2010
"Diplomacy creates opportunities. Embargoes don't. It's time to reset our Cuba policy & build closer ties b/t the American & Cuban people."
Source: Twitter post, twitter.com/MartinOMalley, Dec. 17, 2014
"I support engagement, diplomacy, and trade with Cuba, China, Vietnam, and many countries with less than stellar human rights records, because I believe that once enslaved people taste freedom and see the products of capitalism they will become hungry for freedom themselves...
The supporters of the embargo against Cuba speak with heated passion but fall strangely silent when asked how trade with Cuba is so different than trade with Russia or China or Vietnam...
Even the supporters of the embargo agree that it has not worked. A policy of isolationism with Cuba and engagement with China and Vietnam does not make any sense. Communism can’t survive the captivating allure of capitalism. Let’s overwhelm the Castro regime with iPhones, iPads, American cars, and American ingenuity...
The 50-year embargo against Cuba has not worked. If the goal was regime change, then it sure does not seem to be working. It also hurts the people more than the regime, because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship...
Let's hope cooler heads will ultimately prevail and we unleash a trade tsunami that washes the Castro's once and for all into the sea."
Source: Rand Paul, "Rand Paul: Cuba Isolationists Just Don't Get It," time.com, Dec. 19, 2014
“We have had an embargo for 55 years. It's counterproductive. It's time we normalize relations.”
Source: Bernie Sanders, "Americans Favor Ties with Cuba," sanders.senate.gov, Feb. 11, 2014
Not Clearly Pro or Con
"A university professor in Cuba makes little more than an unskilled laborer – and in some cases less. In addition, many of our waiters and waitresses had advanced education degrees, but found that they could earn more money waiting tables. The many street vendors and performers in the main city squares created a festive façade, but having spoken to many Cuban refugees, I could only sympathize with the masses of people and hope that someday they can experience true freedom. Although some people, such as the filmmaker Michael Moore, extol the virtues of Cuban society, the tide of illegal immigration is from Cuba to America, not vice versa. More people seem to prefer freedom with the opportunity to create security than security without freedom. If people could freely choose which type of society they preferred to live in, life would be very fair. Unfortunately, although Americans are free to leave this country any time they want to go live somewhere else, such privileges are not afforded to the average Cuban or those in many other countries where the government controls their lives."
Source: Ben Carson, America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, 2013
Not Clearly Pro or Con
"I will close it [the new US embassy in Cuba]."
Source: "Carly Fiorina on the New Havana Embassy: 'I Will Close It," youtube.com, June 30, 2015
No position found as of Sep. 24, 2015