Bush is in favor of strengthening the Cuban embargo.
“Cuba’s a dictatorship, plain and simple. In spite of this irrefutable fact many in our country are calling for the lifting of the embargo. Today, and I bet many people know friends and others that fit into this category, literally hundreds of thousands of people travel to Cuba from the United States spending billions of dollars. Let’s assume for a moment, let’s assume for one brief moment, that those that want to lift the embargo have pure motives of supporting freedom and democracy on the island. How would the lifting of the embargo do that? Explain that to me. Would the lifting of the embargo change the fact that the government receives almost all of the money? Almost all the money that comes from these people, well intended people that travel to the island? Would the ladies in white stop being harassed, beaten and jailed? Would the internet be open to Cubans with access to uncensored news and divergent views? Would someone be elected that had a different view then the current communist regime? Could a Cuban decide to set up a business legally and keep what he earns? Of course not. The United States should only have a new relationship with Cuba when there is progress on basic human rights for the Cuban people including the release of political prisoners, fair and free elections, the respect of the rule of law, the cessation of destabilizing countries in the region and the embrace of a free market economy. Then and only then should it be lifted.
"And while we’re at it we should demand the release of not just political prisoners that valiantly and heroically descent against the Castro regime we should also be much more engaged in bringing the release of Alan Gross who is on his 5th anniversary of detention in the country. In fact I would argue that instead of lifting the embargo we should consider strengthening it again to put pressure on the Cuban regime. And in doing so we should encourage other countries in the region to do what’s right. To stand for the principals that in the great majority of cases in the region they do each and every day. They respect the rule of law, they believe in civil society, they believe in freedom, they believe in democracy, they act on that in their own countries and they should try to do the same as it relates to their relationship with Cuba which means that a good place to start would the 7th summit of the America’s to be held in April of next year in Panama. Cuba should not be allowed to go unless they embrace the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the United States should be much more actively engaged in assuring that our voice is heard as it relates to this.
"Look, let’s be clear. I am not a pessimist about the future of Cuba. I think human freedom and human dignity wins out over the long haul over repression and communism. The Castro brothers are on the wrong side of history. They are an unfortunate, sad, tragic relic of Cuba’s past but dying dictators eventually die. They do die eventually. And when they do the chance for us to engage in a thoughtful positive way to bring about democracy and freedom in Cuba will be led by leaders that are in this room. Leaders that care about the connection that our great lieutenant governor and our congressman elect talked about. Connecting back to the past but also focusing on the future of the people of Cuba. Miami and other people of the Cuban diaspora are going to play a huge role in this. And we should never lose sight that the chance of this happening is closer to today then it was in the past. So do not lost hope. Continue to provide support to the elected officials that are courageously doing the right thing in Washington D.C and other places.”
2 December, 2014: U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC 11th Annual Luncheon in Coral Gables, FL.