MIAMI: Newt Gingrich was ahead in the rhetorical war among Republican presidential hopefuls on who could be toughest on Cuba’s communist regime, suggesting on Wednesday that he would bomb the island if there were a popular uprising.
Both Gingrich and his top rival, Mitt Romney, were engaged in heated campaigning in Florida days before the January 31 Republican primary. And both were desperately wooing the state’s large Cuban-American community, nearly a million strong.
Gingrich was asked to explain comments that if elected, he would “not tolerate four more years of a Cuban dictatorship.” If the US planes bombed Libya’s Muammer Gaddafi, should they do the same with Cuba’s Raul Castro and his brother Fidel? “If there was a genuine legitimate uprising, we would, of course, be on the side of the people,” Gingrich told Spanish-language network Univision.
“In that sense I don’t see why Cuba should be sacrosanct, and we should say, ‘Oh, don’t do anything to hurt’ — you know, we’re very prepared to back people in Libya. We may end up backing people in Syria. But now Cuba? Hands off Cuba. That’s baloney. People of Cuba deserve freedom.” The audience at the Miami venue where Univision held the interview broke into applause.Gingrich also said that he would “take all the tools that Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Thatcher used to break the Soviet Empire”. AFP