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Republican platform doesn't abandon Cuba after all

August 20, 2012|By Paul West

TAMPA, Fla. -- Cuban Americans can relax. The 2012 Republican platform will continue the party’s hard-line rhetoric toward the Communist regime in Cuba, though it does not call for reversing President Obama’s decision to relax restrictions on travel and financial assistance to residents of the island.

An earlier Politics Now post stated incorrectly that the GOP platform was silent on Cuba. A delegate on the party platform’s foreign policy and defense subcommittee, who had a copy of the pertinent language, expressed surprise during a drafting session on the plank Monday that Cuba wasn’t mentioned. A GOP aide with access to the platform confirmed that the foreign policy portion section did not mention Cuba.

The actual text of this year’s GOP platform draft is a closely held document, crafted under the control of the Mitt Romney campaign.

The draft planks were distributed to the platform delegates -- on paper only, not digitally -- making it much more difficult for copies to circulate surreptitiously to reporters or to interest groups that might want to criticize.

But after the Politics Now post stirred up a swarm of concern, particularly in south Florida, the campaign agreed to provide the platform language about Cuba, some of it directly lifted from the 2008 document.

Four years ago, the platform stated that the Republicans “support restrictions on trade with, and travel to, Cuba.”  The 2012 version also contains language that points in that direction.

But there is no specific call to tighten the president’s loosening of restrictions, which made it easier for Cuban Americans to visit relatives on the island and send them money, and has been popular with some Latino voters.

Here is the language on Cuba, as released Monday night by the Romney campaign:

"Alternatively, we will stand with the true democracies of the region against both Marxist subversion and the drug lords, helping them to become prosperous alternatives to the collapsing model of Venezuela and Cuba.

"We affirm our friendship with the people of Cuba and look toward their reunion with the rest of our hemispheric family. The anachronistic regime in Havana which rules them is a mummified relic of the age of totalitarianism, a state-sponsor of terrorism. We reject any dynastic succession of power within the Castro family and affirm the principles codified in U.S. law as conditions for the lifting of trade, travel, and financial sanctions: the legalization of political parties, an independent media, and free and fair internationally-supervised elections. We renew our commitment to Cuba’s courageous pro-democracy movement as the protagonists of Cuba’s inevitable liberation and democratic future. We call for a dedicated platform for the transmission of Radio and TV Marti and for the promotion of Internet access and circumvention technology as tools to strengthen the pro-democracy movement. We support the work of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba and affirm the principles of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, recognizing the rights of Cubans fleeing Communism."

paul.west@latimes.com

Twitter: @paulwestdc

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