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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs > Releases > Remarks, Testimony > 2005 > April-June

Message by the President to Commemorate Cuban Independence Day

President George W. Bush
Washington, DC
May 20, 2005

Released by the U.S. Interests Section
Havana, Cuba

I am pleased to send greetings to all Cubans celebrating the 103rd anniversary of Cuban independence. We honor the warm family ties, the faith, the history, and the heritage that unite us all.

Cuba has a proud history of fighting for freedom, and that fight goes on today. Here in America, we are inspired by the stories of Cubans who have escaped tyranny and risked their lives to come to our country. There are more than a million people of Cuban descent in America, and they continue to make our Nation better and stronger. Today, we honor Cubans for their magnificent contributions to our nation. They enrich every field, from science to industry to the arts. But mostly today we reflect on the greatness of Cuba’s distant past and the brightness of its future.

We look forward to the day when Cubans will no longer have to endure years of separation from their families in order to enjoy the blessings of liberty. We will not rest. We will keep the pressure on until the Cuban people enjoy the same freedom in Havana that they have in America. Freedom is not America’s gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty God’s gift to each man and woman in the world.

The Cuban independence we celebrate today was the product of the enormous courage of the Cuban people and the statesmanship of leaders such as Jose Marti. Today many future leaders of a free Cuba are showing their courage in the struggle for freedom. This week, more than 360 opposition and civil society organizations are planning to gather in Cuba for a historic meeting of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba. Those taking part in this event are placing themselves and their families at great risk. I have a message to those assembling today to protest oppression in Cuba: As you struggle for the freedom of your country, the American people stand with you.

Across Cuba, many of you are making the choice to come out from under the shadow of repression. We applaud those of you, like the Damas de Blanco, who are working to raise awareness about your loved ones who have been jailed unjustly. We applaud the selfless Cubans, like Oscar Elias Biscet y Marta Beatriz Roque, who are seeking freedom for your homeland.

We are helping organizations protect dissidents and promote human rights. We are working to ensure that the Cuban people hear the clear voice of truth through Radio y TV Marti. We are working to prevent the repressive regime from exploiting the hard currency of tourists and remittances to Cubans. We are not waiting for the day of Cuban freedom, we are working for the day of Cuban freedom.

The tide of freedom is spreading across the globe – and one day soon, it will reach Cuban shores. No tyrant can stand forever against the power of liberty because the hope of freedom is found in every heart. So today we are confident that Cuba sera libre pronto.

Gracias y que Dios los bendiga.


Released on May 20, 2005

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