Exclusive — Rafael Cruz: Obama Is Giving a Lifeline to the Cuban Regime

rafael cruz and ted cruz
David J. Phillip/AP

AUSTIN, Texas — In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Rafael Cruz, the father of presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), shares his thoughts about President Barack Obama’s new policies on Cuba and what he thinks about his son running for president.

As Breitbart News reported, Obama recently removed Cuba from the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, despite the Castro regime’s support for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist terrorist group, and the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah. Cuba has also shielded from extradition Assata Shakur, who the FBI put on the Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorists List for her role in the killing of a New Jersey State Trooper, as Breitbart Texas reported.

Senator Cruz was quick to condemn Obama’s decision, calling it “dangerous and reckless,” noting Fidel and Raul Castro’s “decades-long track record of violent hostility towards our nation” and how “their regime continues to support and harbor terrorists who have murdered Americans.”

Rafael Cruz shares his son’s scorn for the president’s approach to Cuba. “The whole idea of trying to reestablish relations with Cuba is a horrible idea,” says the elder Cruz. “It is typical of Obama’s policy of appeasing our enemies and throwing our friends under the bus.”

“If we look at this historically, Cuba has been a regime that has been supporting terrorism and insurrection all over the world,” continued Cruz, who then recapped Cuba’s history over the past few decades as their economy was crumbling under the communist system. The former Soviet Union “was investing millions of dollars in supporting the Cuban regime,” explained Cruz, and when the Soviet Union crumbled, Venezuela moved in to pick up the tab, under the direction of former President Hugo Chavez. Chavez died in 2013, and Venezuela’s financial problems meant that it could not support Cuba as much as it had in the past.

“So, at a point where the Cuban regime was shaky, here comes Obama offering a lifeline to strengthen the Cuban government…strengthening a regime that we had some hope that it might crumble, especially after the Castro brothers died,” said Cruz. “This makes it more difficult for that to occur.”

Cruz criticized those who say that Obama’s deal will help the Cuban people. “Nothing could be further from the truth.” Cruz mentioned how, earlier this month, Raul Castro had said if any American company paid a salary to a Cuban worker, that salary would be required to be paid to the government, and the government would keep 93 percent and pay the other 7 percent to the worker, in Cuban pesos, not dollars. “All it’s helping is strengthening the regime,” not the people, said Cruz.

Cruz noted that on the very first day that Obama spoke about normalizing relations with Cuba, Raul Castro said that if Obama thinks that Cuba is going to change our ways, he is mistaken. Castro also demanded that the U.S. return the Guantanamo Bay military base to Cuba, and that we pay compensation for all the years that we occupied the property.

“And, you know, just to give us an idea of how much they have been involved in terrorism,” continued Cruz, “back in the 1970s, when there was a communist insurrection in Angola, there were Cuban guerrillas fighting [there].” Also, FARC has been trained and supported by the Cuban regime for decades, said Cruz, and just about a month before Obama’s announcement, a Cuban ship destined for North Korea had been seized in Panamanian waters, with weapons hidden underneath the sugar the ship was supposedly carrying as cargo.

Cruz also mentioned the murderers and other criminals who are wanted in the U.S. but have avoided extradition by fleeing to Cuba, like Assata Shakur. “She is enjoying safe haven in Cuba, so to even think about taking Castro [regime] off the [list of state sponsors of terrorism], it doesn’t make any sense, but it is the pattern of this Obama regime. So I’m not surprised, but it is really not going to help the people and just going to strengthen the Castro regime.”

“We have already seen that our enemies don’t fear us and our friends don’t respect us,” said Cruz. “We’ve become the laughingstock of the rest of the world because of this abominable foreign policy of this administration.”

Breitbart News also asked Cruz what it was like, as someone who had immigrated to this country with so little, to see his son running for President.

“That’s the greatness of America,” Cruz replied, recalling 2013. “I remember when my son was being sworn in as a U.S. Senator. I was sitting in the Senate chambers, watching that, and I couldn’t contain the tears from my eyes. And I thought back, fifty years before, when I came to America with practically nothing, couldn’t even speak the language, and to now see my son being sworn in as a U.S. Senator, all I could think was, only in America, only in America.”

“That is the greatness of America,” he continued, pride evident in his voice, “a country where with hard work and perseverance, all your dreams can become a reality. That is the greatness of America, anyone can achieve the American dream if they put their mind to it.”

Cruz also talked about what this meant not just for him as an immigrant, but for the dreams of all Americans. “This is a nation of immigrants. Everybody in this nation, either themselves or their grandfathers or their great-great-great grandfathers came from somewhere else to America to become part of this melting pot. And you know, I think it is really sad to see the Obama administration trying to divide the American population, but we’ve got to realize we are all Americans. First and foremost, we are all Americans, and we seek a common goal: to see this nation be again that shining city on the hill, a nation where everyone can have the opportunity to succeed.”

A presidential campaign is “much more intense,” noted Cruz. Instead of just mainly focusing on the state of Texas, he now found himself traveling all over the country, as his son and wife Heidi were now as well. “It is a much greater scope. You know, we live in unprecedented times, and we need a constitutional conservative to take the reins of this country, because if we have a continuation of the failed policies of the Obama administration, we are in danger of seeing this country destroyed.”

The history of America, said Cruz, was where people worked hard to leave their children with a better country than they had, but that was changing. “We are at the brink of that not occurring. Right now, there are more people thinking that their children would not have as good a country as we had,” he said.

“It is unprecedented, and I think we need to change course to make America again what the Founding Fathers envisioned: a country that would be free, a country where the rule of law would prevail, a country where freedom of the individual would be paramount, and where free enterprise would allow entrepreneurs to start small businesses, and live life to the fullest without all this myriad of regulations that make it so difficult for businesses to even get started.”

Regarding taxes, Cruz remarked, “right now the highest corporate tax rate in the world, that is insane. We have seen before, increasing taxes does not increase revenue. We saw it in the 1980s. Ronald Reagan dramatically decreased the tax rates, and we saw unprecedented growth. By the fourth or fifth year of Reagan, we had a GDP growth of about 7.2 percent and about 8 million jobs had been created in the private sector.”

Under Obama, said Cruz, the “rich have gotten richer…big business likes big government. And so they are not helping the American people, the Obama administration is not helping the people that need the help the most. By creating a dependent society, you don’t lift people above poverty, you trap them in a situation where they feel they are on a treadmill and they can’t get out.”

“They may need temporary help,” continued Cruz, but we needed to give them a “hand up not a handout,” noting that government assistance used to be something people would get for a few weeks or months until they found another job. Now, with unemployment benefits being paid up to 99 weeks, people were on it for years and making it a lifestyle. “People are not even looking for a job. That is not what that was intended to be….they are trying to destroy individual responsibility.”

“Reagan said it so well,” said Cruz, mentioning his famous quote about government not being the solution, but instead the problem. “We need less government, we need more freedom for individuals to pursue their dreams and aspirations…all we need is for government to get out of the way so that we can achieve our dreams.”

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.


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