MIAMI, FL - Mitt Romney accused President Obama of a policy of "appeasement" toward Cuba and said that he looked forward to the day Fidel Castro dies.
"This is a critical time. I think you realize that. We've waited a long, long time for the opportunity that is represented by a new president, and by new leadership, or by old leadership finally kicking the bucket in Cuba," said Romney, referring to Fidel Castro, during a speech given to a US-Cuba Democracy PAC event in downtown Miami. "I want to be the American president that is proud to be able to say that I was president at the time that we brought freedom back to the people of Cuba."
"If I'm fortunate to become the next president of the United States it is my expectation that Fidel Castro will finally be taken off this planet," said Romney. "I doubt he'll take any time in the sky he'll find a nether region to be more to his comfort."
Romney criticized Obama for giving too many "gifts" to Castro during his presidency, remarking that negotiation only works when you get something in return.
"I know I learned something about negotiating," said Romney. "I found that if I was trying to negotiate with someone else that before I gave them something, I wanted to know what I was going to get back. The idea that I'm going to negotiate, it's a trade - I'm going to get something, and they're going to get something."
"What has occurred to me as I've watched our president over the last Castro years, is that from time to time we have a president who thinks that a tyrant, that a person who considers America their enemy, that that tyrant will give them something, just by virtue of us giving them something, with no trade whatsoever," said Romney. "Where we just say here, we'll give you this thing and hope you'll give us something nice back. Negotiations are not a matter of giving and hope. They're a matter of giving and getting in return."
"This president has decided to give a gift, to Castro, to allow remittances to come from the United States to go into Cuba and help the economy of Cuba. He's allowed more traveling into Cuba. Showing that olive branch if you will," said Romney. "And how has it been met? It is met with a man, Wilman Villar, who must sacrifice his own life through his hunger strike, with many, many people being oppressed in prison."
Villar died last week after a 50-day hunger strike.
"This president does not understand that by helping Castro, he is not helping the people of Cuba he is hurting them, he is not putting forward a policy of freedom, he is accommodating and encouraging a policy of oppression, and if I'm President of the United States, we will return to Helms-Burton and the law, and we will not give Castro any gifts," said Romney.