McCain blasts Obama on Cuban policy
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05/20/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

John McCain was in Miami today, where he hit Barack Obama hard on foreign policy, this time regarding Cuba.

McCain said he would press the Cuban regime to legitimize all political parties, labor unions and free media, and to schedule an internationally monitored election. He also said it is time for the U.S. to embrace the common geography and destiny that it shares with its neighbors to the south in Latin America.

The Arizona senator extolled the virtues of trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA. But he hit both Obama and Hillary Clinton on their resistance to a free trade agreement without changes with Columbia.

But back to Cuba, the Florida Democratic Party’s opposition research provided some nuggets for reporters in a press release issued on Monday. They cited a 1999 Miami Herald report that said McCain was alone among the field of candidates running for president that year in suggesting, “There could be room for negotiation on the U.S. Trade embargo with Cuba.” He also reportedly told CNN in 2000 “I’m not in favor of sticking my finger in the eye of Fidel Castro.”

Months before the last president election, President Bush followed the recommendations of hard-line Miami Cuban exiles and tightened restrictions on Cuba, hoping to strangle then President Fidel Castro's fragile economy. He limited travel by Cuban-American to their native land, restricted the amount of goods people can bring to their relatives and cracked down on money sent.

Joe Garcia is the former executive director with the Cuban American National Federation. He’s a Democrat running in Miami-Dade County this fall against GOP incumbent Mario Diaz-Balart. Garcia says that decision was an unpopular one with Cuban-Americans, and McCain is doing nothing to reverse that course.

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