President Trump And Vice President Pence Speak About Cuba

The Honorable
Donald Trump
President of the United States

16 October 2017
Press Conference
Rose Garden
The White House

Q General Kelly said just last week that you believe that Cuba could stop the attacks against Americans. Do you believe them, that Cuba is -- do you believe Cuba is responsible?

THE PRESIDENT: I think Cuba knew about it, sure. I do believe Cuba is responsible. I do believe that. And it's a very unusual attack, as you know, but I do believe Cuba is responsible, yes.

United States Department of State
17 October 2017

QUESTION: Can I just talk quickly about the Cuba attack?



QUESTION: The President answered yesterday a question about whether or not he believes that Cuba is responsible for the attacks on U.S. personnel in the affirmative. And he said, “It’s a very unusual attack, as you know, but I do believe Cuba is responsible, yes.”


QUESTION: That runs counter to what you have told us so far, that the investigation is ongoing and that while you hold Cuba responsible for the safety of these diplomats you don’t hold them responsible for the attacks. Does the President know something --

MS NAUERT: Well, we’ve been clear in saying that an investigation is ongoing. I think what the President was saying and also what his Chief of Staff General Kelly was saying last week is the same thing that we have been saying, in that Cuba is responsible for protecting our U.S. embassy personnel, our diplomats who are serving down there, under the Vienna Conventions. That has been very clear all along. They have that responsibility. That is what they are supposed to do. They have not ensured the protection and the safety and security of our personnel down there, and that position hasn’t changed. That’s where we stand.

QUESTION: But with all due respect, that’s not what the President said.

MS NAUERT: Well, that’s what the intent was. We’ve not changed our view on that. The administration has not changed its view on that. The investigation remains ongoing. But we’ve also been clear about this, and at the State Department we tend to be super, super, super, super cautious about some of the things we say. But to anyone who knows anything about the Cuban Government and the past of the Cuban Government, it’s hard to imagine that certain things wouldn’t be known that were taking place on that island right there. Okay.

QUESTION: But you do acknowledge, though, that the President --

QUESTION: Regarding the (inaudible), Ms. Nauert.

QUESTION: -- that the President’s comments caused some confusion. I mean, otherwise why did the department feel it necessary to send a cable to all the embassies and consulates around the world titled, “Clarifying the Cuban Stance,” after the comments were made --

MS NAUERT: Well, we always --

QUESTION: -- and in which that cable says specifically that we have not assigned --

MS NAUERT: We always do send out cables that explain any kind of changes in U.S. policy, and my understanding that that cable was anticipated. That was something that we had --

QUESTION: Just coincidence that it was (inaudible)?

MS NAUERT: No, no, no. That is something that we had planned for in working on a cable that would go out across the world to alert people to some of the health concerns and areas and symptoms that people were experiencing. Okay, guys?

QUESTION: But still --

MS NAUERT: We got to leave it there. Thank you.

QUESTION: But hold on. That was – but that last thing you said, though --


QUESTION: -- and it’s something that you said last Thursday for the first time that it’s a small island and there’s no way that the regime wouldn’t know --


QUESTION: Are you now at least implicating that they’re complicit somehow in the attacks?

MS NAUERT: I am not saying that. An investigation is underway, but I will just highlight that people who know about the background of the Cuban Government, it would be hard to imagine that folks wouldn’t know exactly what would be going on with them that’s on borders. Okay?

QUESTION: But that sounds like you’re saying you have someone in Cuba, in the Cuban Government --

MS NAUERT: Guys, I’m going to leave it at that. Okay? Thank you.

The Honorable
Mike Pence
Vice President of the United States

11 October 2017
Naval Observatory
Washington, DC
Hispanic Heritage Month

"US dollars will no longer prop up a monopoly that exploits" Cubans, and added: "Que viva Cuba libre!".