for myself, and I think speaking for the Vice President also, it gives us great
pleasure to join with the Cuban-American community in commemorating the
anniversary of a great day in the cause of a free Cuba: the establishment of
the CubanRepublic 86 years ago. On that
day, May 20th, 1902, the bonds of
friendship between the peoples of Cuba and of the United States were reaffirmed. The
birth of the CubanRepublic was the culmination of
a long and arduous struggle, of revolts, political imprisonment, executions,
and exile. Today that passion for a free Cuba remains alive in the
hearts of thousands of Cubans everywhere. Cuban-Americans have demonstrated
what a free people can accomplish unencumbered by tyranny, and I am confident
that the time will come when the spirit of freedom will reign in Cuba itself.
let me just say, throughout this administration, in good times and bad, I've
always known that I could look to the Cuban-American community for support.
Your support, your friendship has meant more to me than I can say. Having
suffered personally the evils of communism, you have an acute understanding of
the danger that Communist expansion poses to this hemisphere. You have stood in
support of people everywhere who seek freedom, such as the people of Nicaragua. And let me assure you,
as far as this administration is concerned, the freedom of Cuba is a nonnegotiable
demand. We will never, ever, negotiate away the dream of every Cuban-American
-- a dream that I, too, hold in my heart -- that Cuba will again join the
family of free and democratic nations.
90 miles of ocean separate the island of Cuba from the United States, but between our
governments is an unbridgeable gulf -- the gulf between freedom and tyranny,
between respect for human rights and the rejection of individual freedom.
``Within the revolution, everything,'' Castro has proclaimed, ``against the
revolution, nothing.'' Well, ``nothing'' has meant no freedom of speech,
assembly, religion, or economic activity. ``Nothing'' has increasingly meant a Cuba dependent on subsidies
from the Soviet
to keep its unworkable Communist economy from complete ruin. ``Everything'' has
meant every conceivable cruelty, abuse, and torture -- to the point that Cuba,
today, has the worst human rights record in the entire Western Hemisphere.
``Everything'' means the Cuban political prisons where, writes that brave
freedom fighter, Armando Valladares, Castro's
prisoners ``have been held longer than any other political prisoners in Latin
America, perhaps in the world. The violence, repression, and beatings are facts
of life for them. And today, at this very moment, hundreds of political
prisoners are naked, sleeping on the floors of cells whose windows and doors
have been sealed. They never see the light of day or, for that matter,
artificial light.'' Denied medical care, even visits, their spirit remains
unbroken. If they who suffer so greatly will not negotiate away their freedom
with Castro, neither will the United States of
Marti said: ``One revolution is still necessary: the
one that will not end with the rule of its leader. It will be the revolution
against revolutions, the uprising of all peaceable men who will become soldiers
for once so that neither they nor anyone else will ever have to be a soldier
again.'' Well, at a time when young Cubans are shipped abroad to advance
foreign designs, the rulers in Havana are necessarily worried
about the new generation's interest in Marti's message.
this anniversary of the CubanRepublic, I join a million free
Cuban-Americans in reaffirming our solidarity with the long-suffering Cuban
people. In the heart of the Americas, the long night of
totalitarian rule cannot endure forever. Long live the dawn of freedom!Viva CubaLibre!
Note: The President spoke at in the Roosevelt Room at the White