Vice President Pence Mentions Cuba In Remarks To OAS

Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release
May 7, 2018


Organization of American States
Washington, D.C.


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Ambassador Gonzalez, Secretary General Almagro, Ambassador Trujillo, permanent representatives, distinguished members of Congress, ambassadors, all of our honored guests, it is my great honor to be here in the House of the Americas to address this session of the Organization of American States.  Thank you for the honor of being with you today.  (Applause.)

And I bring greetings first and foremost from a great champion of security, prosperity, and freedom in the Western Hemisphere.  I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)

I’m here today because the Western Hemisphere is a key priority of our administration and our country.  Under President Trump, the United States will always put the security and prosperity of America first.  But America first does not mean America alone.

Our nation has always cared deeply about our neighbors across the Western Hemisphere.  This region is filled with diverse cultures, distinctive traditions, and unique identities beyond number, but we are all bound together by geography, by history, and by the enduring aspiration for freedom.

Ours was always meant to be a hemisphere of freedom, and that vision is why the Organization of American States exists.

One week ago today, this body celebrated the 70th anniversary of its founding, when 21 nations from across the Western Hemisphere declared to the world, and I quote, “that the historic mission of America is to offer a land of liberty.”  And that vision endures to this very day.

Today, this institution essentially represents our entire Western Hemisphere.  And the United States is proud -- proud to stand with the OAS.  And we're especially grateful for the principled leadership of Secretary General Almagro.  Thank you for your outstanding words today.  

Yet even as we celebrate this exercise in freedom, the dark cloud of tyranny still hangs heavy over too many of our neighbors in this hemisphere.

In Cuba, the longest-surviving dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere still clings to power.  For nearly 60 years, the Castro family systematically sapped the wealth of a great nation and of the Cuban people.  While the Castro name is now fading, the oppression and police state they imposed is as powerful as ever.

Today, the United States once again stands with the Cuban people in their stand for freedom.  No longer will our dollars fund Cuba’s military, security, and intelligence services -- the core of that regime.  And in this administration, we will stand and we will always say, "Que Viva Cuba Libre."  (Applause.)

But Cuba’s leaders have never been content to stifle just their own people’s freedom.  For generations, that communist regime has sought to export its failed ideology across the wider region.  And today, the seeds of Cuban tyranny are bearing fruit in Nicaragua and Venezuela.