MIAMI — President Donald Trump announced a tightening of some restrictions on communist Cuba today as he shared a stage with Cuban dissidents, Bay of Pigs veterans and family members of those killed 21 years ago when Cuba’s military shot down a civilian plane belonging to a pro-refugee group.
The president took the stage at a theater in Little Havana to chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” and was interrupted occasionally by shouts of “Thank you” and “U.S.A!”
Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Sen. Marco Rubio and several Cabinet members were on hand for Trump’s signing of an executive order that reverses some of former President Barack Obama‘s easing of travel and trade restrictions.
“It’s hard to think of a policy that makes less sense than the prior administration’s terrible and misguided deal with the Castro regime,” Trump said.
“The previous administration’s easing of restrictions on travel and trade does not help the Cuban people. They only enrich the Cuban regime,” Trump said.
“We will work for the day when a new generation of leaders brings this long reign of suffering to an end,” Trump said. “And I do believe that end is within the very near future.”
Rubio, one of those advising the Trump administration on the changes, contrasted Trump’s visit with Obama’s 2016 trip to Havana.
“A year and a half ago a president, an American president, landed in Havana and outstretched his hand to a regime. Today, a new president lands in Miami to reach out his hand to the people of Cuba,” Rubio said.
“You mark my words,” Rubio continued. “Whether it’s in six months or six years, Cuba will be free…and when it is, I believe that the people on the island and history will say that perhaps the key moment in that transition began on this day here in this theater with each of you and with a president who was willing to do what needed to be done so that freedom and liberty returns to the enslaved island of Cuba.