Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Should the US continue to support the embargo against Cuba?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, stated the following during the Sep. 22, 2011 Fox News Republican presidential candidate debate in Orlando, FL, available at www.foxnews.com:
"Governor Johnson, here in Florida, charter flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Havana, Cuba, have resumed. Is there a problem with that? And what are your thoughts on U.S.-Cuba policy?
JOHNSON: ...With regard to flights to Cuba? You know, I'm - I'm in favor, I think, of the whole notion that trade promotes friendship, as opposed to not. So I would be inclined to looking at establishing or supporting those kinds of things." Sep. 22, 2011 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, stated the following in a Sep. 28, 2011 roundtable titled "Open for Questions with President Obama," available at whitehouse.gov:
"...[W]e're prepared to show flexibility and not be stuck in a Cold War mentality dating back to when I was born. On the other hand, we have to see a signal back from the Cuban government that it is following through on releasing political prisoners, on providing people their basic human rights, in order for us to be fully engaged with them. And so far, at least, what we haven't seen is the kind of genuine spirit of transformation inside of Cuba that would justify us eliminating the embargo...
And as long as I'm President I will always be prepared to change our Cuba policy if and when we start seeing a serious intention on the part of the Cuban government to provide liberty for its people. But that's always my watchword, is are we seeing freedom for the Cuban people to live lives of opportunity and prosperity. If we are, then we'll be supportive of them." Sep. 28, 2011 Barack Obama
[Editor's Note: Prior to the Sep. 28, 2011 Pro position above, Obama also made the following Pro comment during an Aug. 25, 2007 speech in Miami, FL, while serving as US Senator (D-IL) during the 2008 presidential election:
"As President I am not going to take off the embargo, it's an important inducement for change because we know that Castro's death will not automatically guarantee freedom."]
[Editor's Note: Prior to Barack Obama's Now Pro position to the left, he held a Con position as indicated by his Jan. 20, 2004 speech at Southern Illinois University, posted on YouTube.com.]
“I think it's time for us to end the embargo on Cuba... Our planet is shrinking. And our biggest foreign policy challenge… is how do we make sure that other countries, in developing nations, are providing sustenance for their people, human rights for their people, a basic structure of government for their people, that is stable and secure so they can be partners in a brighter future for the entire planet. And the Cuban embargo has failed to provide the sorts of rising standards of living, and has squeezed the innocents in Cuba and utterly failed to overthrow Castro, who has now been there since I was born. It is now time to acknowledge that that particular policy has failed.” Jan. 20, 2004 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following during a Jan. 26, 2012 CNN Republican debate held in Jacksonville, FL:
"The right course for Cuba is to continue to honor Helms-Burton [a 1996 law which strengthened the US embargo against Cuba]. And if I'm president of the United States, I will use every resource we have, short of invasion and military action, Congressman Paul. I'll use every resource we can to make sure that when Fidel Castro finally leaves this planet, that we are able to help the people of Cuba enjoy freedom." Jan. 26, 2012 Mitt Romney
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives (R-GA), stated the following in a Jan. 26, 2012 CNN Republican presidential candidate debate in Jacksonville, FL, available at presidency.ucsb.edu:
"I was very proud as Speaker to be able to make sure that the Helms-Burton Act [a 1996 law which strengthened the US embargo against Cuba] passed, and I'm delighted that Congressman Dan Burton is here tonight and is campaigning with me, because it was a very important step towards isolating the Castro regime.
I think it's amazing that Barack Obama is worried about an Arab Spring, he's worried about Tunisia, he's worried about Libya, he's worried about Egypt, he's worried about Syria, and he cannot bring himself to look south and imagine a Cuban Spring. And I would argue that we should have, as a stated explicit policy, that we want to facilitate the transition from the dictatorship to freedom. We want to bring together every non-military asset we have, exactly as President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher and Pope John Paul II did in Poland and in Eastern Europe.
They broke up the Soviet empire without a general war by using a wide range of things, one of which is just psychological, saying to the next generation of people in Cuba, the dictatorship is not going to survive. You need to bet to moving to freedom in order to have prosperity in Cuba, and we will help you get to that freedom." Jan. 25, 2012 Newt Gingrich
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following during the Jan. 23, 2012 NBC News Republican presidential debate in Tampa, FL, available at www.washingtonpost.com:
"I don't like the isolationism of not talking to people. I was drafted in 1962 at the height of the Cold War when the missiles were in Cuba. And the Cold War's over.
And I think we propped up Castro for 40-some years because we put on these sanctions, and this -- only used us as a scapegoat. He could always say, anything wrong, it's the United States' fault.
But I think it's time -- time to quit this isolation business of not talking to people. We talked to the Soviets. We talk to the Chinese. And we opened up trade, and we're not killing each other now. We fought with the Vietnamese for a long time. We finally gave up, started talking to them, now we trade with them. I don't know why -- why the Cuban people should be so intimidating.
I -- I don't know where you get this assumption that all of a sudden all the Cubans would come up here. I would probably think they were going to celebrate and they're going to have a lot more freedom if we would only open up our doors and say, we want to talk to you, and trade with you, and come visit. Sometimes they can't even send packages down there.
I -- I think we're living in the dark ages when we can't even talk to the Cuban people. I think it's not 1962 anymore. And we don't have to use force and intimidation and overthrow of a -- in governments. I just don't think that's going to work." Jan. 23, 2012 Ron Paul
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following during the Jan. 26, 2012 Republican presidential candidate debate in Jacksonville, FL, sponsored by CNN and the Republican Party of Florida, available at www.presidency.ucsb.edu:
"I've been 100 percent in support of the Cuban people and their right to have a free Cuba and the United States should stand on the side of the Cuban people against these despots who are not just reigning terror, continuing reign of terror in Cuba. But now have their -- their -- their puppet, Chavez in -- in Venezuela and Noriega and Morales and it keeps -- it keeps like a cancer growing...
We're going to reward this type of thuggery, this type of Marxism in our region. We're going to reward a country [Cuba] that is now working with these other countries to harbor and bring in Iran and the terrorist -- the Jihadist's who want to set up missile sites and to set up training camps. And so we're going to reward this behavior by opening up and liberalizing. This is the exact wrong message at the exact wrong time." Jan. 26, 2012 Rick Santorum