Herald political reporter Marc Caputo says the Ryan pick could be a “sore point in Miami-Dade” notwithstanding the assertions by Cuban American big shots that Ryan was “educated” and changed his position on Cuba. And in El Nuevo, the headline is that Romney will “break tradition” today by visiting Miami and going not to Versailles on Calle Ocho, but to a very nice-sounding place called El Palacio de los Jugos. (Update: more from Sergio Valdivieso at Cafe Fuerte.)
Obviously Ryan will support the pro-embargo Romney position and my bet is that he will have to find a public opportunity to do so. Politics being politics, he will put his convictions in storage and swallow words such as these from 2002, when he argued in the House for unrestricted travel to Cuba:
Mr. Chairman, the greatest antidote to totalitarianism is an informed mind. I would like to read a quick passage from an independent journalist, a dissident in Cuba, Oscar Espinosa Chepe:
“The passage of the House amendment last year to end the travel ban reflects a public opinion that every day understands more clearly that the effort to isolate Cuba has only increased the suffering of the Cuban people and strengthened the positions of the most recalcitrant elements in the Havana regime. Experience demonstrates that isolationism breathes life into totalitarianism. It helps it exercise control over citizens subjected to its power and to reinforce its monopoly over their minds. On the other hand, contact between peoples free individuals from falsehoods and from the lies without dignity to which they are obliged to lead.”
Mr. Chairman, it has been the American policy from Republican presidents and Democrat presidents that we engage; it has been in the American policy that we engage the Soviet Union, that we engage China, that we, just a few minutes ago, voted to engage Vietnam.
We should do the same with Cuba. The simple reason is that it has been a bedrock principle of American policy that travel is a device that opens closed societies. American travelers are our best ambassadors. They carry the idea of freedom to people from communist countries. There is no reason to make this exception for Cuba.
We want Americans to go down and exchange ideas, to show them the taste of freedom, to know what kind of brutal totalitarian regime they are living under. A people cannot rise up and ask for alternatives if they are not acquainted with those alternatives.
We are simply saying this 42-year practice of turning our backs, of looking inward, of being hypocrites while we go to China and Russia and Vietnam, must be ended.