Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found.
Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position.
Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by party; black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria.)
Chuck Baldwin, Founder and Minister of the Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL, issued the following statement through his Communications Director, Mary Starrett, in an Aug. 11, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
"Yes, especially at a time when Moscow is using Cuba as a footstool to taunt the United States, we should do all we can to maintain and enhance the pressure on the Cuba regime." Aug. 11, 2008 Chuck Baldwin
Bob Barr, former US House Representative (R-GA), voted Yes on HR 927 "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996" on Sep. 21, 1995:
"Expresses the sense of the Congress that...the President should instruct the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations to seek within the Security Council a mandatory international embargo against the Cuban Government... Reaffirms a provision of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 that states that the President should encourage foreign countries to restrict trade and credit relations with Cuba. Urges the President to take steps to apply sanctions described by such Act against countries assisting Cuba... Prohibits any U.S. national, permanent resident alien, or U.S. agency from knowingly extending any loan or other financing to any person in order to finance transactions involving property confiscated by the Cuban Government, the claim to which is owned by a U.S. national. Excepts from this prohibition any financing by the owner of the claim for a transaction permitted by U.S. law." Sep. 25, 1995 Bob Barr
[Editor's Note: HR 927 "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996" is a 40 page piece of legislation that covers many issues, including but not limited to the Cuba embargo. Therefore, ProCon.org considers Bob Barr's vote on HR 927 to be a "Not Clearly Pro or Con" position on this question.]
John McCain, US Senator (R-AZ), stated in a June 20, 2007 speech titled "Senator John McCain Address on Latin America to the Florida Association of Broadcasters" on his official campaign website:
"My administration will press the Cuban regime to release all political prisoners unconditionally, to legalize all political parties, labor unions and free media and to schedule internationally monitored elections. And, the embargo will stay in place until those terms are met." June 20, 2007 John McCain
Barack Obama, US Senator (D-IL), in an excerpt of a speech given in Miami, FL, Aug. 25, 2007, stated:
"That's why, when I'm President, I will grant Cuban-Americans unrestricted rights to visit families and send remittances to the island. Because that's the way to bring about real change in Cuba. Through strong and smart diplomacy, not just tough love...
As President I am not going to take off the embargo, it's an important inducement for change because we know that Castro's death will not automatically guarantee freedom." Aug. 25, 2007 Barack Obama
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear
below in black and white and in alphabetical order by party.)
Joe Biden, US Senator (D-DE), voted Yes on the "Cuba Sanctions" bill (H.R. 927) on Mar. 5, 1996:
"A bill to seek international sanctions against the Castro government in Cuba, to plan for support of a transition government leading to a democratically elected government in Cuba, and for other purposes."
Mar. 5, 1996 "Cuba Sanctions" bill (H.R. 927), Library of Congress: THOMAS website
Chris Dodd, US Senator (D-CT), stated at the Sep. 9, 2007 Univision Network Democratic Presidential Debate in Miami, FL:
"Certainly what we've done over the last 50 years I don't think has worked. Fifty years of this policy, of the embargo has basically left the same man in power, the same repressive politics, an economy that's been failing in the country. He has been using that as an excuse for his own failures. As president of the United States, I would begin to unravel that embargo. I would lift travel restrictions, so Cuban Americans can go visit their families. I would be lifting the restrictions on remissions...
We need to engage in a constructive and positive way. This is hurting us as well throughout the Americas here. Our ability to engage the rest of this hemisphere is directly related to our ability to engage intelligently in this transition. It takes new, bold leadership to do this. We need to understand that the hopes and aspirations of the Cuban people are as important as anything to us." Sep. 9, 2007 Chris Dodd
John Edwards, former US Senator (D-NC), stated in a Jan. 29, 2004 Associated Press article titled "Candidates on the Issues: Cuba" on WSVN/Channel 7 FOX News:
"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." Jan. 29, 2004 John Edwards
Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, according to the Miami Herald's June 22, 2007 article titled "Giuliani Visits Hialeah, Courts Exiles," took the following position:
"If there were a conservative litmus test for the Cuban exile community, Giuliani would have aced it. He vowed to maintain the embargo and travel restrictions on visiting the island, and he railed against Castro. When Castro visited New York City in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, Giuliani, then the city's mayor, explicitly excluded him from a banquet of world leaders."
June 22, 2007 "Giuliani Visits Hialeah, Courts Exiles," Miami Herald
[Editor's Note: Prior to Mike Huckabee's Dec. 10, 2007 Pro position, regarding keeping the Cuban embargo, he has also expressed a Con position as indicated in his 2002 letter to President Bush, as reported on CNN and confirmed by multiple other mainstream media sources.]
"In 2002, then-Gov. Huckabee wrote President Bush urging him to lift the embargo on Cuba, saying the US position was harming agriculture and business interests, and providing Fidel Castro with a 'convenient excuse for his own failed system of government.'" 2002 Mike Huckabee
Daniel Imperato, an Independent candidate and business entrepreneur, stated in a www.cubanet.org article titled "After Last Week's Caribbean Summit in Barbados, 2008 White House Hopeful Daniel Imperato Issued a Statement on US Relations with Castro, Cuba, and the Caribbean" (accessed Nov. 26, 2007):
"I believe in order to break through and establish stronger relations with our island neighbor, that Fidel Castro, his people, and his government, must be liberated. We the people of the United States America have a duty and obligation to support democracy in the free world. Our neighboring Cuba needs our support and I say its time that we give it...
When Imperato becomes empowered to represent the United States he said he looks forward to "setting an example with our closest neighbor Cuba by opening relations, mending wounds, and repairing diplomatic ties with Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean." Nov. 26, 2007 Daniel Imperato
Alan Keyes, former Assistant US Secretary of State, stated in the Sep. 8, 2004 Illinois Agricultural Legislative Roundtable Candidates' Forum:
"I got a question the other day, when I was in Springfield for the state fair, someone asked about Cuba, and how it important it was to get access to Cuba so that we could ignore Castro's despotism and so forth. You know what this comes from? It comes from living off the scraps, y'all. So we're going to fight over access to Cuba while access to the Japanese market continues to be denied in any meaningful way." Sep. 8, 2004 Alan Keyes
Steve Kubby, a Libertarian candidate and founder of the American Medical Marijuana Association, stated in a Nov. 9, 2007 email to ProCon.org:
"Absolutely not. The US embargo has been a key factor in keeping the Communist regime in power in Cuba for decades. It has enabled Fidel Castro to imprison the Cuban in poverty and oppression, positioning America as the mutual enemy of both the regime and the people, and ultimately as the cause of all their problems. History has proven time and time again that economic sanctions strengthen dictatorships and slow progress toward freedom. US policy toward Cuba should consist of free trade in goods and services, as well as open arms to immigrants fleeing tyranny." Nov. 9, 2007 Steve Kubby
Dennis Kucinich, US Representative (D-OH), in an article titled "Cuban Embargo" on www.kucinichforcongress.com (accessed Nov. 21, 2007), stated:
"Our policy toward Cuba has failed. More than four decades of a unilateral embargo and persistently hostile and aggressive rhetoric and actions from successive administrations have created only misery for the Cuban people and have hurt, not helped, US interests at large.
Common sense dictates that we pursue a policy of normalizing relations with Cuba. We need to work for repeal of the Helms-Burton Act and the immediate lifting of the trade embargo. We must lift not only the trade embargo. We must also lift the travel ban. We must cooperate with Cuba on issues of national security." Nov. 21, 2007 Dennis Kucinich
Frank McEnulty, an Independent candidate and President of Our Castle Homes, in a Nov. 13, 2007 email to ProCon.org, stated:
"No, the embargo against Cuba is just a payoff to the Cuban Americans in South Florida and makes absolutely no sense in today's world. If you want to affect change in a region or country you must work with them and allow the people of those areas to see how much better off they would be under our system than under theirs. That is best accomplished by allowing Americans to go there and do business there as much as possible." Nov. 13, 2007 Frank McEnulty
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated in a July 17, 2002 article titled "Paul Works to Open Cuban Market to Texas Farmers" on his Congressional website:
"Decades of agricultural trade sanctions have done nothing to topple the Castro regime, but they have hurt American farmers and the Cuban people. Our farmers should not be denied access to markets because of a misguided and ineffective State department policy. Our current approach simply opens the door for farmers around the world to exploit the Cuban market. Rather than punishing our farmers with trade embargoes, Congress should be eliminating barriers and opening new markets like Cuba." July 17, 2002 Ron Paul
Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, stated at the Sep. 9, 2007 Univision Network Democratic Presidential Debate in Miami, FL:
"...[W]e've got to deal with the Cuba issue. What we need there is possibly start lifting the embargo but only after Fidel Castro releases political prisoners and their democratic freedoms." Sep. 9, 2007 Bill Richardson
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated in an Aug. 21, 2007 press release on his official campaign website:
"Unilateral concessions to a dictatorial regime are counterproductive, helping to secure a succession of power and repression instead of a transition to freedom. They will only embolden those who cling to power at the expense of the Cuban people. We must not weaken our policy on Cuba until the Castro regime is dismantled, all political prisoners are freed and Cuba transitions to free and fair elections." Aug. 21, 2007 Mitt Romney
Christine Smith, a Libertarian candidate and a social and political activist, stated in a Dec. 5, 2007 email to ProCon.org:
"No. I will immediately lift all restrictions imposed upon Cuban-American relations and commerce/trade, and respect Cuban sovereignty. I will end all US government sanctions and embargoes, and I will end all US government intervention/intrusions in the governments and elections of foreign nations." Dec. 5, 2007 Christine Smith
Fred Thompson, former US Senator (R-TN), stated in an Oct. 25, 2007 press release titled "Statement by Fred Thompson on the President's Speech on Cuba" on his official campaign website:
"Our goal for Cuba is nothing less than the complete freedom of the Cuban people. All sanctions must remain in place as long as the current regime, or any 'transitional government,' refuses to hold free and fair elections, to release all political prisoners, to allow private enterprise to flourish, and denies the Cuban people their God-given freedoms. The United States must strengthen its ongoing efforts to build international support to isolate the Castro regime, and stand with the Cuban people. We also need to look at new ways to further weaken this regime, and hasten the democracy, freedom and self-determination of the Cuban people." Oct. 25, 2007 Fred Thompson