The twentieth of May marks the celebration of Cuban independence won by patriots who wished for individual freedom and the right of self-determination, both of which have been tragically snuffed out by a tired Communist regime. Regardless, the brave people of Cuba continue to work—under continued oppression and extraordinarily difficult circumstances—to provide for their families and to restore human and civil rights. The names of great Cuban leaders who fought for independence, such as José Martí and Antonio Maceo, echo through history alongside names like Washington and Jefferson. The legacy of these leaders continues to inspire and encourage all peoples to remain committed to the fight for democracy and the restoration of political, economic, and religious freedoms.
The resilience of the Cuban people and the contributions of the Cuban-American community demand our respect. We are grateful for the many contributions in the world of literature, the arts, music, cuisine, and entrepreneurship that these communities have given us.
To the people of Cuba who yearn for true freedom, and to the Cuban-Americans who reside in the United States, Melania and I send our warmest wishes. On this special day, we remember the Cuban patriots who lit a flame of freedom that will never be fully extinguished as long as men and women can dream of a better tomorrow. Let us recommit ourselves to a better, freer future for the Cuban people.