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Hillary Clinton Doubles Down In Miami: "Cuba Embargo Needs To Go Once And For All"

Peter Andrew Bosch
Miami Herald
Dempcratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton calls for an end to the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba in a speech at Florida International University Friday.

As recently as just a few years ago, this would have been unthinkable: A U.S. presidential candidate coming to Miami and calling for an end to the U.S trade embargo against Cuba. But Hillary Clinton did just that on Friday.

In a speech at Florida International University, the Democratic president front-runner said U.S.-Cuba relations are at a "crossroads," and that she'll "double down" on President Obama's policy of engaging the communist island: “The Cuba embargo," Clinton declared, "needs to go once and for all.”

Clinton, who is Obama’s former Secretary of State, said she supported the embargo in the 1990s when her husband Bill Clinton was president and codified it into law. And she said she knows the issue is still “deeply personal” for Miami’s Cuban-Americans.

“I understand the skepticism in this community about any policy of engagement toward Cuba," Clinton said. "As many of you know, I’ve been skeptical too. But you’ve been promised progress for 50 years, and we can’t wait any longer for a failed policy to bear fruit. We have to seize this moment.”

Clinton clearly tailored her argument to the Miami setting. She stressed on the one hand that the embargo serves as a politically convenient scapegoat for the Cuban regime.

“Our policy of isolating Cuba was strengthening the Castros’ grip on power,” she said.

And on the other hand, she said opening U.S. trade with Cuba will let the Cuban community here influence democratic change there.

“I will look to the Cuban-American community to continue leading the way," said Clinton. "No one is better positioned to bring expertise, resources and vision to this effort.”

Cuban-Americans who support the embargo protested Clinton’s speech outside the hall where she spoke.