MIAMI -- Flanked by his squad of powerful Cuban-American supporters, including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and former Sen. Mel Martinez, presidential aspirant Mitt Romney made an appeal to Hispanic voters in Florida that if elected president, he would take a much more aggressive stance against the Communist regime in Cuba than the current Obama administration.
"If I'm fortunate to become the next president of the United States it is my expectation that Fidel Castro will finally be taken off this planet," Romney said to emphatic applause from the crowd of 500 gathered at the Magic City's landmark building, the Freedom Tower. "I doubt he'll take any time in the sky. He'll find a nether region to be more to his comfort."
Romney also criticized President Obama's "appeasement" of a U.S. trade embargo and travel restrictions that have been opposed by the majority of Cuban-American Republicans.
"This is a critical time. I think you realize that. We've waited a long, long time for the opportunity that is represented by a new president, and by new leadership, or by old leadership finally kicking the bucket in Cuba. And I want to take advantage," Romney told the energetic and mostly Hispanic audience. "I want to be the American president that is proud to be able to say that I was president at the time that we brought freedom back to the people of Cuba."
"We have a president who thinks that a tyrant, that a person who considers America their enemy, that that tyrant will give them something, just by virtue of us giving them something. With no trade whatsoever," Romney continued. "Where we just say here, we'll give you this thing and hope you'll give us something nice back. Negotiations are not a matter of giving and hope. They're a matter of giving and getting in return."
Early Wednesday, Castro did not mince words when he described the Republican presidential candidates and their attention to the tiny island nation 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
"The selection of a Republican candidate for president of that globalized and encompassing empire is , I say this seriously , the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been heard, " The authoritarian leader--- who is considered a a ruthless dictator by the Cuban exile community, and human rights groups-- wrote in a column for the state-run newspaper.
"I knew only too well it would be like that," Castro said. Castro's brother Raul is officially the head of state since Fidel stepped down in 2008 after decades of rule.
The Miami Romney event, organized by the USA-Cuba Democracy PAC, was held at the Freedom Tower -- the location where tens of thousands of Cuban refugees, who fled from Castro's Communist regime, were processed by the federal government. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fox News' Nicole Busch contributed to this report.