President Trump announced his decision on Friday to partially reverse the previous administration's Cuba policies during in speech in Miami. "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 president seized the opportunity to issue a forceful and vivid rebuke of the island nation's communist regime. "Many of you witnessed terrible crimes committed in service of a depraved ideology. You saw the dreams of a generation held captive. And, just literally, you look at what happened and what communism has done," Trump told the crowd of cheering Cuban Americans gathered in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood.
"You knew faces that disappeared, innocents locked in prisons, and believers persecuted for preaching the word of God. You watched the women in white, bruised, bloodied and captured on their way from mass. You have heard the chilling cries of loved ones or the crack so for firing squads piercing through the ocean breeze," he said. "Not a good sound."
Trump continued, drawing on the plight of the Cubans to speak more broadly about the dangers of communism as a model of government. "The exiles and dissidents here today have witnessed communism destroy a nation," the president observed, "just as communism has destroyed every single nation where it has ever been tried."
"But we will not be silent in the face of communist oppression any longer," Trump promised the crowd.
By contrast, former President Barack Obama did not use any form of the word "communism" in his May 2016 speech in Havana, choosing instead to speak of the country's "one-party system," "socialist economic model," and emphasis on "the role and rights of the state."
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.