Newt: We hardly knew ye…

As they say, actions speak louder than words. While campaigning in South Florida, Newt Gingrich talked tough on Cuba and Castro. His actions, however, say something completely different. In fact, disturbingly different.

National Catholic Register correspondent Victor Gaetan in Foreign Affairs:

[…] In the end, [Cardinal Jaime] Ortega diluted the opposition’s victory with some tough rhetoric. Not long after the prisoner release announcement, he visited Washington to receive a $100,000 prize from the Knights of Columbus. In his acceptance speech, he astounded Cuba watchers by referring to the jailed democracy activists as “convicts,” who were — in words that were clearly soothing to ears in the Castro regime — “considered prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.”

Then he did the rounds in Washington. He briefed U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones and Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela. The prelate even spent more than an hour in a secret meeting with Newt Gingrich, presumably to press for support and discuss the former speaker of the House’s upcoming bid for the White House. Ortega argued that prisoner release should pave the way for closer U.S.-Cuban relations, including lifting the trade embargo. Within six months after his visit, the White House had lifted restrictions on travel for academic, religious, and cultural groups. Through the end of the year, Havana set free more than 100 political prisoners — provided they accept exile.



8 thoughts on “Newt: We hardly knew ye…

  1. So a meeting is a betrayal? Regardless of my personal feelings for Cardinal Ortega I’m not willing to denounce Gingrich without knowing what was said. There’s not a whole lot of “there” there.

  2. The author of the piece conflates two separate but unrelated events. In the same paragraph he asserts that he met with Gingrich and that 6 months later the Obama administration “lifted restrictions on travel for academic, religious, and cultural groups.” For the uninformed reader this makes it look like Gingrich had some power to sway policy in an administration he is hoping to defeat. At best it’s sloppily written. The Gingrich anecdote, while it may be true, is a fish out water in that paragraph. We know nothing of what was said in that meeting or of Gingrich’s response to Ortega’s pitch.

  3. Henry, It’s you and me against the world. Even the pundits on our side have already anointed Santorum. I still think Newt is the better candidate.
    Why is Newt so distrusted and disliked and the others thought so much more of?

  4. Honey, Newt is distrusted and disliked because he can’t be trusted and it is difficult to like an arrogant jerk who turns on you whenever it benefits him. Newt is reaping today what he sowed yesterday. It is the law of the harvest.

  5. I think nominating Newt would be a HUGE mistake (and Santorum would be just as bad … Romney ain’t so great either … or Paul … man, talk about a weak field) … but I think the article reads too much into a private meeting.

    Maybe Newt was trying to influence the Cardinal rather than vice versa.

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