Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was in Miami Saturday courting Cuban-American voters with promises to be tougher on Fidel Castro than President Barack Obama.
The nominee spoke at Versailles Restaurant just after 9 a.m. at 3501 SW 8th St.
"We will be tough on Castro, tough on Chavez, and it's because we know that that's the right thing for our country," he said to the crowd.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Miami's Cuban-American congressional representatives and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's son Craig touted Ryan's credentials in English and Spanish for the breakfast crowd.
Ryan said he and Romney would help get Latinos back to work. He also said America offered a better life to immigrants seeking freedom and prosperity. Cubans benefit from the so-called wet foot, dry foot policy that provides those who literally step on U.S. soil with temporary visas and a path to legal citizenship.
Supporters waited in rain to hear the nominee speak, many saying they would have done more just for the opportunity.
"I'm a Cuban-American, and because I had a great chance in this country, I want my children and my grandchildren to have it. And I don't believe Obama is doing it for us,” said supporter Dulce De Los Reyes.
Rene Espinosa said Ryan is a good candidate because of his values.
"He's a religion man, both," Espinosa said. "And very solid family."
Outside of Versailles, protesters demonstrated against the nominee. Jaimie Mancham told NBC 6 South Florida that he won't vote for Ryan because his policies will hurt the elderly.
"He does not represent our interests as people in the state of Florida," he said. "He's been very vocal about that fact that he wants to cut medicare and that he wants to go to a voucher system. This is not going to be helpful for our elderly people."
Giancarlo Sopo said he believe Ryan is asking for support from people he once turned his back to.
"It is the utmost form of pandering and it is completely insincere," he said. "Paul Ryan until just recently as three years ago was voting against the economic sanctions against the Cuban regime and now he's coming and asking these people for their vote."
At 3 p.m., Ryan was expected to attend another rally at the University of Central Florida.
Florida is a presidential battleground where a charged immigration debate is under way as President Barack Obama seeks to keep Republican challenger Mitt Romney on the defensive. Both candidates were crisscrossing Florida on Thursday.
Obama took questions Thursday from a Spanish-speaking audience at a Univision-sponsored forum at the University of Miami.
Romney participated in the same forum on Wednesday.
Stay with NBC 6 for updates.