Gingrich Reconsiders His Cuba Policy

Friday, January 13, 2012
In an interview yesterday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich reconsidered his previous statement of support for the Obama Administration's Cuba policy.

We take him at his word.

But he then goes on to take credit for helping "develop the whole Radio Marti program."

With all due respect, Radio Marti was created in 1983. At the time, Gingrich was a very junior Congressman in the House minority.

So let's set the record straight.

Radio Marti was created at the behest of President Ronald Reagan and thanks to the leadership of some very powerful Members of Congress -- the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Dante Fascell, the Chairman of the Rules Committee Claude Pepper and U.S. Senator Paula Hawkins.

It had nothing to do with Newt Gingrich.

However, we do appreciate his support.

From The Miami Herald:

In a written statement, Gingrich pledged to fully implement the Helms-Burton Act that he helped pass in 1996 to allow people to sue “foreign entities that traffic in U.S. property.” And he said the United States should lift no sanctions until Cuba transitions to a democracy. He also wants to require the U.S. Justice Department to “reassess” the possibility of indicted Fidel and Raul Castro for the 1996 shoot down and “murder” of the Brothers to the Rescue activists.

Lastly, Gingrich said he wanted to re-establish the 2004 Bush Administration travel restrictions and that he wanted to review the decisions of the Obama and Clinton administrations executive orders related to Cuba travel and trade.

That last promise seems to conflict with his answer to Yahoo News in November, when he was asked: “President Obama has opened more air travel to the island. Would you shut down those flights?”

Said Gingrich: “No, but I would very aggressively move towards maximizing dissent inside Cuba. Mostly covert, and also just subsidies. Go back and look what we did in Poland for example when we aggressively supported Solidarity."

Gingrich’s comments led the influential exile blog, Capitol Hill Cubans, to declare that Gingrich was one of the “Weakest Candidates on Cuba Policy.”

Gingrich quickly replied: “I think I’m a long way from being weak on Cuba.”

He noted that he helped pass Helms-Burton and took credit for helping “develop the whole Radio Marti program.”

Some critics have questioned the special immigration rights of Cubans, but Gingrich said they should be allowed to stay.