Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Representing the 25th District of FLORIDA

Diaz-Balart Commends President Trump on Putting U.S. Values First and Expressing Solidarity with the Cuban People

Jun 16, 2017
Press Release

MIAMI – Today, President Trump announced a new policy toward the Castro dictatorship. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart delivered the following statement. To watch Congressman Diaz-Balart’s remarks, click here.

As prepared for delivery: 

“Today, I stand here in the presence of the heroes of the 2506 Brigade and so many others who have suffered at the hands of the Castro regime.   The brigade in particular is a symbol of dignity, made up of men who personify sacrifice and heroism.  And who, having experienced betrayal, have nevertheless never wavered in the struggle for freedom.  Many presidents have made commitments, but some of them were not kept.

  • When our brave heroes were promised support on April 17, 1961, they were betrayed and the support never came. 
  • When then-nominee Mr. Obama came to Miami, and promised that he would support the embargo for the leverage it provided until genuine change and respect for human rights were recognized on the island, he broke his word. 
  • In his last term in office, President Obama urged Congress to end the embargo and yielded all concessions possible, and the Castro regime never unclenched its fist.
  • His policy was based on the absurd notion that increasing trade with the brutal, murderous Castro regime -- even directly aiding the Cuban military-run tourism industry -- would somehow help the Cuban people. 
  • He extolled the virtues of his policy which pretended that the oppressed are somehow helped by the strengthening of their oppressors.

“In contrast, then-nominee, Donald Trump promised that he would pursue a policy on Cuba that would put U.S. law, the American values of freedom and democracy, and American national security interests, first.

And now, he comes back to Miami, in his very first year as President, to keep that promise. 

  • The commitments that he made to you, and to those struggling for freedom just 90 miles from our shores, are being kept.  
  • U.S. policy will ensure that the Cuban military, which oppresses the Cuban people, through thugs who beat activists, spies on their neighbors, and imprisons the democratic opposition, cannot benefit from increased trade and travel. 
  • The regime which was caught smuggling 240 tons of weapons to North Korea, and which has the blood of innocents on its hands, will no longer benefit from U. S. dollars.

“I have a message for the Cuban people, and to all of those struggling for freedom, President Trump stands with you.  He will not stand for the suppression of basic rights.  He will not gloss over human rights abuses or the pleas of political prisoners.  You will no longer have to witness the embarrassing spectacle of an American president doing ‘the wave’ with a ruthless dictator at a baseball game in Cuba.  Now, the President of the United States stands with you.

“Tengo un mensaje para el pueblo cubano y para los que luchan por la libertad. El presidente Trump está con ustedes. No aceptará como normal la supresión de los derechos fundamentales. No pasará por alto los abusos contra los derechos humanos ni las súplicas de los presos políticos. Ahora, el presidente de Estados Unidos está con ustedes.”

“I am honored to be here as President Trump sets a new course that is faithful to the values we cherish, and to the struggle for freedom which has come at such a great cost to so many. 

“President Trump will treat the Castro regime for the malevolent dictatorship that it is.

“Thank you, President Trump, for keeping your commitment. You have not betrayed us. You kept your promise; you stand in solidarity with the Cuban people and freedom-loving people everywhere; and you are putting American values and U.S. national security interests first.

“Thank you, Mr. President.”