Remarks by President Trump on the Policy of the United States Towards Cuba

June 16, 2017, Miami, FL, THE PRESIDENT:…And now that I am your President, America will expose the crimes of the Castro regime and stand with the Cuban people in their struggle for freedom.  Because we know it is best for America to have freedom in our hemisphere, whether in Cuba or Venezuela, and to have a future where the people of each country can live out their own dreams.

For nearly six decades, the Cuban people have suffered under communist domination.  To this day, Cuba is ruled by the same people who killed tens of thousands of their own citizens, who sought to spread their repressive and failed ideology throughout our hemisphere, and who once tried to host enemy nuclear weapons 90 miles from our shores.

The Castro regime has shipped arms to North Korea and fueled chaos in Venezuela.  While imprisoning innocents, it has harbored cop killers, hijackers, and terrorists.  It has supported human trafficking, forced labor, and exploitation all around the globe.  This is the simple truth of the Castro regime.

My administration will not hide from it, excuse it, or glamorize it.  And we will never, ever be blind to it.  We know what’s going on and we remember what happened.

On my recent trip overseas, I said the United States is adopting a principled realism, rooted in our values, shared interests, and common sense.  I also said countries should take greater responsibility for creating stability in their own regions.  It’s hard to think of a policy that makes less sense than the prior administration’s terrible and misguided deal with the Castro regime…

The previous administration’s easing of restrictions on travel and trade does not help the Cuban people — they only enrich the Cuban regime.  The profits from investment and tourism flow directly to the military.  The regime takes the money and owns the industry.  The outcome of the last administration’s executive action has been only more repression and a move to crush the peaceful, democratic movement.

Therefore, effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.

I am announcing today a new policy, just as I promised during the campaign, and I will be signing that contract right at that table in just a moment.

Our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and for the United States of America.  We do not want U.S. dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba.

Our new policy begins with strictly enforcing U.S. law.  We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.  Elections.

We will very strongly restrict American dollars flowing to the military, security and intelligence services that are the core of Castro regime.  They will be restricted.  We will enforce the ban on tourism.  We will enforce the embargo.  We will take concrete steps to ensure that investments flow directly to the people, so they can open private businesses and begin to build their country’s great, great future — a country of great potential.

My action today bypasses the military and the government, to help the Cuban people themselves form businesses and pursue much better lives…. And we will work for the day when a new generation of leaders brings this long reign of suffering to an end.  And I do believe that end is in the very near future.

We challenge Cuba to come to the table with a new agreement that is in the best interests of both their people and our people and also of Cuban Americans.

To the Cuban government, I say:  Put an end to the abuse of dissidents.  Release the political prisoners.  Stop jailing innocent people.  Open yourselves to political and economic freedoms.  Return the fugitives from American justice — including the return of the cop-killer Joanne Chesimard…

Any changes to the relationship between the United States and Cuba will depend on real progress toward these and the other goals, many of which I’ve described.  When Cuba is ready to take concrete steps to these ends, we will be ready, willing, and able to come to the table to negotiate that much better deal for Cubans, for Americans.  Much better deal and a deal that’s fair.  A deal that’s fair and a deal that makes sense.

Our embassy remains open in the hope that our countries can forge a much stronger and better path.  America believes that free, independent, and sovereign nations are the best vehicle for human happiness, for health, for education, for safety, for everything.  We all accept that all nations have the right to chart their own paths — and I’m certainly a very big believer in that — so we will respect Cuban sovereignty.  But we will never turn our backs on the Cuban people.  That will not happen….Raul Castro — by the way is leaving now.  I wonder why.

I just want to end by saying may God bless everyone searching for freedom. May God bless Cuba.  May God bless the United States of America.  And God bless you all.  Thank you.  Now I’m going to sign…So this says, “strengthening the policy of the United States toward Cuba.”  And I can add, “strengthening a lot.”   So this is very important, and you watch what’s going to happen.  Going to be a great day for Cuba.