“Across the Americas, generations, including generations of Chileans, have struggled and sacrificed to give meaning to these words — ordinary men and women who dared to speak their mind; activists who organized new movements; faith leaders who preached social justice; the mothers of the disappeared who demanded the truth; political prisoners who rose to become presidents; and, even now, Las Damas de Blanco, who march in quiet dignity. […]
Yesterday, in a speech given at the Centro Cultural Palacio Moneda in Santiago, Chile, President Obama gave his first Latin America speech since the 2008 Summit of the Americas. While he spoke of many important issues regarding the region – and LAWG will be reviewing the speech in detail, so keep checking our blog and website for that – the Cuba team wanted to share the substantial Cuba portion of the speech with you today.
“Let’s never waver in our support for the rights of people to determine their own future -- and, yes, that includes the people of Cuba. Since taking office, I’ve announced the most significant changes to my nation’s policy towards Cuba in decades. I’ve made it possible for Cuban Americans to visit and support their families in Cuba. We’re allowing Americans to send remittances that bring some economic hope for people across Cuba, as well as more independence from Cuban authorities.
“Going forward, we’ll continue to seek ways to increase the independence of the Cuban people, who I believe are entitled to the same freedom and liberty as everyone else in this hemisphere. I will make this effort to try to break out of this history that’s now lasted for longer than I’ve been alive.
“But Cuban authorities must take some meaningful actions to respect the basic rights of their own people -- not because the United States insists upon it, but because the people of Cuba deserve it, no less than the people of the United States or Chile or Brazil or any other country deserve it.”
Read the full statement here