Thompson criticizes Huckabee's position on Cuban embargo Herald Tribune
Thompson criticizes Huckabee's position on Cuban embargo
Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson toured a Bay of Pigs museum in Little Havana on Monday and then criticized rival Mike Huckabee for previously saying the Cuban trade embargo should be lifted.
"He's been a long opponent of the embargo against (Cuban President Fidel) Castro. He thinks we should lift the embargo against Castro, and I disagree with that," said Thompson, whose campaign put out a statement the day before attacking Huckabee on the issue.
As Arkansas governor, Huckabee said the embargo should be lifted, saying it hurt the state's farmers. But before Thompson's event, he told reporters in Miami that he has come to understand Cuban-Americans' perspective on the embargo and said as president he would veto any legislation attempting to lift it.
Thompson said that was a political move.
"People take the views they've had all their political lives and when they decide they want to run for president, they change them. So the question is, where are you going to be in your future?" Thompson said. "It raises issues when politicians change their view on a dime to appeal to a particular group of people right before an election."
Thompson, a former Tennessee senator and star of "Law & Order," made his remarks after touring a museum honoring men who participated in the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. He was shown a gun that once belonged to Fidel Castro's brother, Raul, a bullet removed from a man executed during the invasion, photos of those killed in the invasion and historic Cuban flags.
"I've been a strong, consistent, commonsense, anti-Castro conservative my entire career. That's where I've always been, that's where I'll be in the future," Thompson said.
He told Cuban-Americans gathered at the museum that he looks forward to Castro's demise.
"My greatest wish is to be the president of the United States when Cuba is free, and free Cubans put on trial those who need to be put on trial," he told them.
Fidel Castro, 81, hasn't been seen publicly since undergoing surgery in July 2006, when he ceded power to Raul.
Thompson later told The Associated Press that Castro's death will be a part of bringing change to Cuba, though he cautioned that change may not be immediate.
"The leadership there is old. His brother is no spring chicken, either," Thompson said. "The Cuban people themselves, with the right kind of assistance, ultimately will be the source of their own freedom."
Earlier, Huckabee was endorsed by Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American. Both candidates were campaigning in Miami the day after a Spanish-language debate.
Multiple calls to two Huckabee spokeswomen seeking comment about Thompson's remarks went unanswered. Messages couldn't be left because their voice mailboxes were full.
Huckabee son arraigned in Dog Killing Governor’s son 1 of 2; fired at Scout camp; after stray dog killed
ELIZABETH McFARLAND, ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
The younger son of Gov. Mike Huckabee and another teen were fired last month from jobs at a Boy Scout camp after the killing of a stray dog.
Marcal Young of Texarkana, scout executive of the Caddo Area Council that operates the camp where the dog was killed, said this week that two boys violated a Scout law, “A Scout is kind.”
Young would not release the names of the boys nor explain how the dog, “probably a mixed breed,” was killed.
The two teens reported the event immediately and said they had made a mistake. “They felt it [the dog] was ill and what have you, still our policy is it was inappropriate behavior,” Young said.
He would not say what the boys thought was wrong with the dog, but he said they did not suspect rabies.
Members of the camp staff receive training before camp starts and are told what it means to be “a good role model,” Young said.
An anonymous, unconfirmed report describing a particular process of killing the dog and naming young Huckabee as a participant was sent by fax machine this week by an organization against cruelty to animals to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. That report was described by Young and the governor as inaccurate.
Both men declined to say how the dog had been killed or who did it.
The dog was killed July 11 at Camp Pioneer near Hatfield. Only employees witnessed the incident. Not many of them were on hand, one source said.
Young said he chose not to reveal the names of the employees because “I just think that they’re due privacy. These are young people. They make mistakes occasionally, but I’m not covering for them.”
Young said the council’s board gives him the authority to take care of personnel decisions. He said the council believes it took appropriate action and the matter is closed. He said he did not report it to law enforcement authorities.
A source who asked to remain unnamed said David Huckabee, who turned 18 on July 22 and was 17 at the time of the incident, was one of those fired over it.
A reporter’s message left at the Governor’s Mansion for David Huckabee was not returned.
Danny Frady of Texarkana said his son, Clayton, 19, was the other staff member who was fired.
The elder Frady said his son told him he came upon one or more Scouts who had the dog “hung over a limb and choking” so the younger Frady helped “put it out of its misery.”
“I think the boy has paid his dues because he lost his job. He was one of the better counselors. He’s made a mistake, and he’s paid for it,” Danny Frady said. “I don’t think he did anything wrong to put an animal out of its misery.”
Danny Frady said killing a stray dog that has become a nuisance is common in rural areas. The mistake was doing it in front of other youth staff members, Frady said.
Young said the fired employees might be required to undergo counseling if they applied to be employees again. Danny Frady said he doesn’t think his son needs counseling because “he’s not cruel to animals.”
Polk County Sheriff Mike Oglesby said neither he nor his deputies had heard of the incident. A complaint should have been made, he said.
Prosecuting Attorney Tim Williamson of Mena said cruelty to animals is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $ 1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. “We regularly charge cruelty to animals. That’s kind of my pet peeve,” he said.
Oglesby and Williamson said they didn’t intend to investigate because no one had lodged a complaint.
Camp Pioneer in Polk County served 2,026 campers for week-long stints from May 31 through July 25.
The camp employed 65 staff members. Caddo Area Council includes eight Arkansas counties and two Texas counties.