Cuba

As Cubans await policy changes, Trump sends a message on Cuban Independence Day

Donald Trump visits Bay of Pigs museum and addresses the Brigade 2506, veterans of the Cuban battle on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016.
Donald Trump visits Bay of Pigs museum and addresses the Brigade 2506, veterans of the Cuban battle on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

On the 115th anniversary of the birth of the Republic of Cuba, President Donald Trump on Saturday extended his “warmest wishes” to Cuban Americans and promised that he will work for Cubans on the island to have a government that respects democracy and civil liberties.

“Today, we remember patriots like José Martí, who devoted himself to making Cuba an economically competitive and politically autonomous nation,” Trump said in a statement. “He reminds us that cruel despotism cannot extinguish the flame of freedom in the hearts of Cubans, and that unjust persecution cannot tamper Cubans’ dreams for their children to live free from oppression.”

A man waving an American flag run out in front of a May 1 march in Havana on Monday. He was quickly surrounded and dragged out by plain clothe police officers.

During his campaign, Trump promised to change Cuba policy, and a State Department official recently said that the United States would seek to put more pressure on the Cuban government regarding its human rights record. It was anticipated that an announcement about these changes would come by Saturday, but it was postponed because of the president’s trip to the Middle East and because the Cuba policy review has not been completed, a White House spokeswoman told el Nuevo Herald.

In his statement, Trump also highlighted the “outstanding contributions” of several generations of Cuban Americans to the United States.

“Cuban Americans have distinguished themselves in literature, the arts, business, sports, the courts, Congress, and within my Administration. We are especially thankful to the Cuban Americans who serve in our military and who have sacrificed in defense of our freedom.”

Cubans stand across the street from the bridge connecting Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to Laredo, Texas, pondering their next move as they hold out hope to find a way to the United States. President Obama announced Thursday the end of the long-standing “

Follow Nora Gámez Torres on Twitter: @ngameztorres

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