In July, Hugo Chavez commented on the United States  presidential election, saying that he thought Barack Obama was “deep down a good guy.”

Earlier this summer, Mariela Castro, daughter of titular Cuban dictator Raul Castro, who taunts Cuba’s brave pro-democracy activists as “despicable parasites,” also praised President Obama after his administration allowed her to enter the United States to give a series of lectures and tour various U.S. cities.

These compliments – and the fact that they were not disavowed by the White House – come as no surprise, given President Obama’s appeasing stance regarding anti-American totalitarian regimes.

Since he took office in January 2009, President Obama has pursued a policy of appeasement toward the totalitarian Cuban dictatorship.

Despite the Castro brothers’ harboring of international terrorists and their increasingly relentless oppression of the Cuban people, President Obama weakened U.S. sanctions and has increased the flow of dollars to the dictatorship.

In response, the Castro brothers amped up their repression of the Cuban people and imprisoned American humanitarian aid worker Alan Gross for the “crime” of taking humanitarian aide to Cuba’s small Jewish community.

Clearly, President Obama is not concerned about the threat posed by the Cuban dictatorship, nor has he manifested genuine solidarity with the pro-democracy aspirations of the Cuban people.

Despite the Castro brothers’ harboring of international terrorists and their increasingly relentless oppression of the Cuban people, President Obama weakened U.S. sanctions and has increased the flow of dollars to the dictatorship.

- U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.

The Cuban people are protesting in the streets and demanding freedom. But rather than supporting the growing, courageous pro-democracy movement, President Obama instead has chosen to appease their oppressors.  

While President Obama claims that his policies aim to assist the oppressed Cuban people, his actions betray that he is not on their side.

You cannot credibly claim to care about the oppressed while working out side deals with their oppressors and welcoming the oppressors’ elite into the United States with open arms. And you cannot claim to support political prisoners while increasing the flow of dollars to their jailers.  

The failures of the Obama administration in Cuba are not an isolated foreign policy failure.

Around the world, President Obama has taken an approach of appeasement when it comes to some of our most virulent enemies.

In addition to Cuba, from Iran to Syria to Venezuela, President Obama has shown an unwillingness to stand firm when anti-American forces threaten our interests, and his weakness has emboldened America’s enemies. If we are going to reassert our position in the world, we need a change at the top.

Unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney has consistently vowed to take a firm stance against the Castro regime and strongly support the growing pro-democracy movement in Cuba. That will start by tightening sanctions against the brutal Castro dictatorship and fully funding Cuban pro-democracy assistance programs.

Similarly, after thoroughly and seriously studying the issue, Romney’s running mate, my friend Rep. Paul Ryan, fully understands that a policy of appeasement and accommodation only emboldens the terrorist Castro regime.

Seven or eight years ago, my brother Lincoln, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and I had long and thorough briefing sessions on the issue of Cuba with Paul Ryan, and, since then, Rep. Ryan has not only supported a vigorous U.S. pro-democracy policy toward Cuba, he has been one of the strongest supporters of a free Cuba in the U.S. Congress.

The Romney-Ryan Administration will support pro-democracy movements throughout our hemisphere, work with our allies to fight criminal gangs and terrorists, and oppose the dangerous incursion of enemies such as Iran and Hezbollah into America’s backyard.

The Castro brothers have oppressed the Cuban people and threatened U.S. security interests for far too long.

Mitt Romney will reaffirm America’s dedication to the freedom of the Cuban people and refuse to assist their oppressors until the promise of a free, democratic Cuba is finally realized.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart represents the 21st congressional district in South Florida. 

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