WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump said on Friday that communism is the past and freedom is the future at a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, as he doubled down on his criticism of the Cuban and Venezuelan regimes.
At a ceremony in the East Room of the White House with more than 200 business and religious leaders of the US Hispanic community, Trump recalled that his government has taken various measures to defend the “great people” of Cuba and Venezuela.
“We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until it delivers full political freedom for the Cuban people,” Trump said in his speech, having expressed on several occasions his opposition to ending the embargo on the island if no fundamental reforms are forthcoming.
About Venezuela, Trump repeated his rejection of the “oppression” imposed by the “ruthless socialism of the Maduro regime.”
The president did not forget Puerto Rico either, noting the “long road of recovery” that lies ahead for the island after the devastation left by Hurricane Maria.
He also mentioned the victims of the recent earthquake in Mexico, adding that his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, is a “wonderful president.”
Among the artists brightening the event was the Christian music singer of Puerto Rican descent, Julissa Arce Rivera, who dedicated a song, “Tierra Bendita” (Blessed Land), to the island in its time of extreme humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Maria.
Despite the devastating moment the island is going through, the singer said she knows Puerto Rico will rise again.
Taking part in the ceremony along with the president were first lady Melania Trump and two of the highest ranking Hispanics in the Trump administration: Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and Treasurer Jovita Carranza.