In this CubaBrief we focus on recent statements by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Cuba and Venezuela.

“My Administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.” President Donald Trump, State of the Union, January 30, 2018.

For the full speech click on the link here:

Before leaving for a multi-stop visit to Latin America Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said at the University of Texas in Austin that the region, “[w]hich includes Canada, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean – is a priority for the United States for reasons other than simply geographic proximity.”

“The United States’ partnership with nations in the hemisphere is founded on shared values and democratic governance, but we cannot take it for granted. Many still live under the oppression of tyranny,” he said.

On Venezuela Mr. Tillerson took note that the European Union “joined the growing global chorus to sanction leaders in the regime for human rights abuses,” adding that  …  “the corrupt and hostile regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela clings to a false dream and antiquated vision for the region that has already failed its citizens. It does not represent the vision of millions of Venezuelans – or in any way comport with the norms of our Latin American, Canadian, or Caribbean partners.”

“Our position has not changed. We urge Venezuela to return to its constitution – to return to free, open, and democratic elections – and to allow the people of Venezuela a voice in their government. We will continue to pressure the regime to return to the democratic process that made Venezuela a great country in the past.”

At CubaBrief we welcome European support for human rights in Venezuela yet the European leaders including Federica Mogherini seem ignorant of the pernicious brawl thousands of Cuban military play in the repression of the Venezuelan people.

On Cuba Secretary Tillerson said that the regime “disregard[s] their people and ignore this democratic moment in Latin America, to give their people the freedom that they deserve.

“Cuba has an opportunity in their own transfer of power from decades of the Castro regime to take a new direction. In June, President Trump laid out a new vision for our approach to Cuba – one that supports the Cuban people by steering economic activity away from the military, intelligence, and security service which disregard their freedom.”

“The administration’s policy – as written in the National Security Presidential Memorandum – also seeks to, quote, “ensure that the engagement between the United States and Cuba advances the interests of the United States and that of the Cuban people.”

“It includes advancing human rights and encouraging the nascent private sector in Cuba. The future of our relationship is up to Cuba – the United States will continue to support the Cuban people in their struggle for freedom.”

“Venezuela and Cuba remind us that for our hemisphere to grow and thrive, we must prioritize and promote democratic values,” Tillerson said.

For the whole speech click on the link here