The Associated Press chooses an issue three times a week and asks the
presidential candidates a question about it. Today's question and
CUBA: What conditions, if any, would Cuba have to meet for you to favor
dropping the embargo?
Wesley Clark: "I want to help
bring democracy to the Cuban people, the only people in the Western
Hemisphere who don't have democratic freedoms. That said, I will not
take steps that reward Fidel Castro. In general, embargoes have not
succeeded in bringing democracy. It was engagement and penetration that
helped the peoples of Eastern Europe gain their freedom. If elected, I
would work this problem with the leaders of the region, work it hard.
As president, I would look at the circumstances at the time and then
Howard Dean: "The U.S. should
move toward the eventual lifting of the trade embargo with Cuba. But
Castro must not be rewarded for continued human rights violations.
Before I will consider lifting the embargo, Castro must demonstrate a
firmer commitment to human rights and take steps that promote the
freedom that Cubans have so long been denied."
Sen. John Edwards: "The goal of
our policy in Cuba must be the promotion of democracy and human rights.
I support sanctions that target Fidel Castro's regime but help the
innocent Cuban people, allowing trade for food and medical supplies
that help ease the horrible burdens they suffer. Full sanctions should
not be lifted until Castro and his brutal regime are gone. At the same
time, along with our allies, we must increase our support and
assistance for dissidents and democracy advocates inside Cuba who are
struggling to be free."
Sen. John Kerry: "I am not
prepared to lay down conditions at this time for lifting the embargo,
because I believe that we need a major review of U.S. policy toward
Cuba. That review must be conducted with other countries in the region,
with Cuban Americans, and, to the best of our abilities, those in Cuba
who are fighting for greater political liberties."
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: "I
strongly favor ending the embargo on Cuba. Our policy toward Cuba has
created misery for the Cuban people and has harmed our own national
interests. My administration will work to normalize relations with
Cuba. This will include normal bilateral trade with Cuba."
Sen. Joe Lieberman: "I would
drop the embargo if Castro steps down and a democratic government,
selected by the people of Cuba, is allowed to rise. Fidel Castro's
regime is unmatched in its oppression and implacable in opposing any
hint of freedom and democracy."
Al Sharpton: "If we can trade
with China and Russia and others, what is the difference in terms of
policies in dealing with these countries?"
The Bush-Cheney campaign says President Bush will begin participating
in the weekly issues survey in February.