Paul Ryan's Past Support of Lifting Cuban Embargo Could Cause Problems in Miami-Dade

It's one thing that Mitt Romney passed over Cuban-American Marco Rubio for Paul Ryan, but it's quite another that Ryan has a history of support for lifting the Cuban embargo. Ryan's flip-flopping voting record on the issue certainly has Miami talking on the day Romney comes to town.

Ryan arrived in Congress as an ideologue champion of free trade. In 2001 and 2004 he voted twice to lift the Cuban embargo, but as his prominence in the party rose he conveniently aligned his voting record with a more mainstream Republican pro-embargo stance.

"He was a free-trader and we explained to him the human-rights and terrorist record of the Cuban dictatorship," former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart told Naked Politics. "His record ever since is one of a strong supporter for freedom in Cuba. He is a strong ally."

Indeed, since 2007 he has voted against easing restrictions on Cuba and cuts to a Cuban pro-democracy program.

Though, were these politically calculated votes or has he really changed his ideology? His public comments seem to suggest he's still a free-trader at heart.

"If we're going to have free trade with China, why not Cuba?" he asked The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in 2008 in an article about lifting the embargo.

Though, Cuban-American supporters of the Romney ticket are claiming that Ryan has done an ideological about-face (or, as many call it, a flip-flop), Ryan is still getting lauded for his anti-embargo past.

"One good thing about Paul Ryan on foreign policy: he voted repeatedly to repeal counterproductive #Cuba embargo," tweeted Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth.

"Over the past decade, Ryan has voted repeatedly in the House to overturn the most plainly idiotic part of current U.S. foreign policy, the maintenance of an embargo on Cuba," writes The Atlantic's James Fallows.

Apparently, Ryan's evolving stance on the issues lead "a handful of current and former Republican Cuban-American lawmakers, who didn't want to be identified for fear of bucking their own party" to blab to The Herald that they're still concerned about his stance.

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Kyle Munzenrieder