There has been no serious discussion of handing over Guantanamo to Cuba. The debate over the Panama Canal, by contrast, boiled over in the politics of the late 1970s, with Ronald Reagan coining the phrase that Cruz used — "we built it, we paid for it, it's ours" — to win votes against then-President Gerald Ford in the 1976 Republican primary.
Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, is a Cuban immigrant who fought with pro-Castro rebels as a young man but later became a vehement opponent of the Castro government.
The rest of Cruz's remarks more closely resembled Republican criticism of the plan.
"Let me say this Mr. President: Don't shut down Gitmo, expand it, and let's have some new terrorists there," Cruz said. "How on Earth does any president look in the eyes of a mother or father whose son or daughter lost his life capturing these terrorists and justify, we're going to release them again, when we know a very high percentage of them are going to return to waging jihad, to try to murder innocent Americans, and the next American is going to look into the eyes of another father or mother and say their son or daughter is going to go have to get them? Enough with kissing up to the politically correct leftists! I'm sorry you're too terrified to say 'radical' Islamic terrorism."