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Trump Calls For Better, Freer Future For Cuba People

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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump sent on Sunday a message to the Cuban people on the occasion of the island’s Independence Day.

“On Cuban Independence Day, I extend my warmest wishes to the Cuban American community and the people of Cuba as our whole Nation joins you in celebrating the anniversary of Cuban Independence,” the president said in a written statement commemorating Cuba’s independence, an anniversary that is not celebrated today on the communist island.

“Americans and Cubans share allegiance to the principles of self-governance, dignity, and freedom,” wrote Trump, recalling Cuban independence hero Jose Marti, “who devoted himself to making Cuba an economically competitive and politically autonomous nation.”

Speaking of Marti, Trump said, “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.”

“The Cuban people deserve a government that peacefully upholds democratic values, economic liberties, religious freedoms, and human rights, and my Administration is committed to achieving that vision,” said the US leader.

Trump also honored the Cuban-American exiles who “have made outstanding contributions to our country by sharing their culture and talents,” saying that they “have distinguished themselves in literature, the arts, business, sports, the courts, Congress, and within my Administration.”

He noted that Americans are “especially thankful to the Cuban Americans who serve in our military and who have sacrificed in defense of our freedom.”

This is the second consecutive year in which Trump has sent a message on Cuban Independence Day, something that his predecessor, Barack Obama, did not do during his eight-year mandate, but other US leaders have done – including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.

Pursuing a hard line against the Cuban regime, Trump has frozen the process of normalization of relations with Havana begun by Obama and has reduced staff at the US Embassy there to a minimum. – BERNAMA

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