Huckabee’s Cuban Retreat
Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) ruffled some feathers in Miami earlier this month when he called for a suspension of immigration from countries listed as sponsors of terrorism by the State Department. That includes Cuba, and Huckabee’s proposed suspension would have required that the US return all new Cuban arrivals to the island, or maybe place them in indefinite detention.
“These are folks who have overstayed their welcome. Every one of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 came here legally," he said. "Let’s say [to sending states] until you get your act in order and we get our act in order we’re not going to just let you keep coming and threaten the future and safety of America."
Huckabee must not have considered (how could he not have known?) that most of the 9/11 bombers came from Saudi Arabia, which is not on State’s list, or that there’s no record of a terrorist act inside the US by nationals of the states listed—North Korea, Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Cuba—unless you count the CIA-trained Cubans who live here and are known to the government.
But by now he’s heard of the Cuban Adjustment Act. Campaigning in Little Havana on January 25, he cleaned up the mess: "We have a very distinct policy when it relates to Cuba, one that I think we should continue, and that is if you get a foot on dry soil you should be able to come here.”
With that episode, Huckabee matched ex-governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) in the "What’s going on in Cuba?" category. In March 2007 Romney tried out the slogan "¡Patria o Muerte, Venceremos!" (Fatherland or death, we will win!) on a Cuban-American audience, having no idea that it is Fidel Castro’s signature sign-off in his speeches.