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May 20th is Cuban Independence Day. President George W. Bush marked its passage during each year of his presidency to demonstrate the United States’ solidarity with the oppressed Cuban people. The Freedom Collection continues this tradition, standing in solidarity with all those in Cuba struggling against tyranny. To Cubans everywhere, we wish you happy Independence Day.
Below are excerpts from President Bush’s first Cuban Independence Day remarks in 2001 (read his full statement here):
“It's a great honor for me to welcome you all to the White House to celebrate May 20th, Cuban Independence Day. It's a day when we honor the warm family ties, the faith, the history and heritage that unite our two peoples…”
“It is a day when we pay thanks to the magnificent contributions of Cubans to our national life. They enrich every field, from science to industry, to the arts, including my favorite performing art --baseball. But mostly, today is a day when we reflect on the greatness of Cuba's far-too-distant past and the brightness of its future; of how, together, we can hasten that future's arrival…”
“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. The tyranny that rules Cuba today stands as an insult to their sacrifices. But we're confident in one fact, Cuban courage is more powerful and enduring than Castro's legacy and tyranny.”
“Today I say this to Mr. Castro: If you are confident your ideas are right, then stop jamming the broadcasts of those whose ideas are different. And until you do, we will look for ways to use new technology, from new locations, to counter your silencing of the voices of liberty…”
“Today, all our citizens are proud to stand with all Cubans, and all Cuban Americans who love freedom. We will continue to stand with you until that day, hopefully not in the too-distant future, when all Cubans breathe the heady air of liberty.”
Christopher Walsh serves as Senior Program Manager for the Human Freedom and Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. In this role, Christopher manages communications, evaluation, and public policy research projects that advance freedom and democracy in the world. He also develops and implements efforts to make the Bush Institute a welcoming place for today’s generation of dissidents and democracy advocates, overseeing visits for training, inspiration, and insight.
Prior to joining the Bush Institute, Christopher worked with the International Republican Institute in Washington, D.C. As IRI’s program officer for Central and Eastern Europe, he coordinated political party building and civic advocacy programs in the Balkans and Turkey.
A native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Christopher is a graduate of American University with a B.A. in International Studies. He currently lives in Dallas with his wife and three young children.Full Bio
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