THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON CUBAN INDEPENDENCE DAY
On this May 20th, Cuban Independence Day, I wish to convey to the Cuban-American community the best wishes of the American people. We fully share your hopes and aspirations for a future when the people of Cuba can enjoy freedom and democracy. For over three decades, Cuba has suffered under an inhumane dictatorship. It's my deep and committed desire that the Cuban people will live in liberty.
The centerpiece of my administration's foreign policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean has been a commitment to democracy, human rights and accountable government. A welcome tide of democratic government has swept throughout the hemisphere. The will of the people is being expressed through democratic elections and the strengthening of the rule of law.
Only two countries in the entire hemisphere remain outside this democratic community of nations -- Cuba and Haiti. And we are working hard for the restoration of the freely and fairly elected constitutional government of President Aristide in Haiti. Cuba's time has also come.
We wish for the people of Cuba what we wish for all people of the Americas -- freedom of the press and speech, protection from arbitrary arrest and respect for due process, and the rule of law. We wish for the people of Cuba what we strive for for ourselves -- prosperity, an environment where our basic needs are met and where our children can grow and develop spiritually and in safety. We wish, on this historic anniversary, for a prosperous, vibrant, flourishing democracy that frees the creativity of the people of Cuba.
Let me be clear. We maintain the trade embargo against the Castro regime because the United States does not want to do anything that could strengthen the dictatorship. At the same time, the Cuban Democracy Act allows humanitarian assistance and the free flow of communications and ideas that can help to alleviate the suffering and isolation of the Cuban people. It is for this reason that I will continue to support Radio and TV Marti; they are an important window to the world.
The United States has no quarrel with the Cuban people. There is a long history of mutual cooperation and admiration between our two peoples. Only the dictatorship stands between our two nations. The United States will continue to encourage the dream of a free and democratic Cuba. As Jose Marti, hero of Cuba and of the Americas said, "We love liberty, because in it we see the truth." The whole world has now seen the truth of the failure of dictatorship. I pray that soon the Cuban people will enjoy the freedoms, the rights, the privileges that they deserve as human beings and that democracy so vigorously guarantees.
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