File #3568: "DI-1314_ref.pdf"





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Office of the Press Secretary
Internal Transcript
THE PRESIDENT: I want to speak with you today about
my Administration's plans to press forward with our efforts to
promote a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba. A little more
than a month ago, I took steps to stop the dangerous and illegal
flow of Cubans attempting to enter the Untied States by sea. I
want to report to you on the results of these steps and why I
believe it was the right thing to do. But first, let me be clear,
our commitment to a better future for the Cuban people remains as
strong as ever.
Throughout our hemisphere, a powerful wave of
democracy is bringing new respect for human rights, free elections
and free markets. Thirty-four of the 35 countries in this region
have embraced democratic change. Only one nation resists this
trend: Cuba.
Cuba's system is at a dead end - politically,
economically and spiritually. The Castro regime denies Cubans
their most basic rights. They cannot choose their own leaders.
At the same time, economic collapse threatens the well-being of
every man, women and child in Cuba.
The pressure of our embargo and the withdrawal of
Soviet support have forced Cuba to adopt some economic measures of
reform in the last two years. We haven't seen that before. But
economic change remains slow, stubborn and painfully inadequate.
The denial of basic rights and opportunities has driven tens of
thousands of Cuban to desperation.
In the summer of 1994, thousands took to treacherous
waters in unseaworthy rafts, seeking to reach our shores; an
undetermined number actually lost their lives. In response, I
ordered Cubans rescued at sea to be taken to safe haven at our
naval base at Guantanamo and, for a time, in Panama. But this
could not be a long-term solution. Last fall, I ordered that the
young, the old and the infirm and their immediate families be
admitted to our country. Thousands entered the United States in
this way. Still, that left tens of thousands of young men at
Guantanamo who were becoming increasingly frustrated and
desperate. Senior United States military officials warned me that
unrest and violence this summer were likely threatening both those
in the>camps and our own dedicated soldiers.


But to admit those remaining in Guantanamo without
doing something to deter new rafters risked unleashing a new,
massive exodus of Cubans - many of whom would perish seeking to
reach the United States. To prevent that situation and to settle
the migration issue, I took action. The Cuban rafters who were
brought to Guantanamo last summer will be admitted to the United
States, except those found to be inadmissible under U.S. law.
Those Cubans rescued at sea while illegally trying to enter the
United States will be taken back to Cuba. Under our generous
program of legal immigration, 20,000 Cubans from Cuba will be
allowed to enter and reside in the United States every year from
now on. And we will continue to provide assistance to Florida to
help resettle those Cuban migrants.
I know that many of you have questions about aspects
of this policy. Yet, the simple truth is that there is no
realistic alternative. We simply cannot admit all Cubans who seek
to come here. We cannot let people risk their lives on open sea
in unseaworthy rafts. And we cannot sentence thousands of young
men to live in limbo at Guantanamo.
Our new policy is working. Since its beginning, on
May 2nd, few Cubans have been intercepted at sea. We cannot know
how many lives have been saved by the deterrent effect of this
policy. But consider this: in May of last year, some 700 Cubans
were picked up and many others were lost at sea. Our new policy
can help to avoid uncontrolled migration and it's already saving
At the same time, we are making every effort to
protect those at risk in Cuba. We will not return rafters who we
believe would suffer reprisals back in Cuba. The U.S. Interests
Section in Havana is carefully monitoring those sent home,
visiting each of them individually to ensure they are not
harassed. And, thanks to our legal migration programs, over
15,000 Cubans have been approved to enter the United States since
September 1994 as immigrants, parolees, and refugees - that is
three times more than in any previous year.
In short, the actions we took address the serious
humanitarian problem at Guantanamo, deter illegal and unsafe
migration, protect political refugees and expand opportunities for
legal admission from Cuba. They serve our national interests.
Regularizing Cuban migration also helps our efforts
to promote a peaceful transition to democracy on the island. For
too long, Castro has used the threat of uncontrolled migration to
distract us from this fundamental obejective. With the steps I
have taken, we are now able to devote ourselves fully to our real,
long-term goal.



Our pol.icy·is rooted in the Cuban Democracy Act,
which I endorsed some three years ago and which subsequently was
passed the Congress with bipartisan support. Consistent with the
Act, the United Stateis will maintain the economic embargo against
the Cuban regime. This is an important way to promote change in
Cuba, and it will remain in place until we see far-reaching
political and economic reform. - As provided in the Act, if Cuba
takes steps in the direction of meaningful changes, we are
prepared to respond with our own carefully calibrated response.
The Cuban Democracy Act also calls on us to support
the Cuban people in their struggle for democracy and economic
well-being. We believe that reach out today will nurture and
strengthen the fledgling civil society that will be the backbone
of tomorrow's democratic Cuba. We will continue to help Cuba's
democratic opposition, and the churches, human rights
organizations, and others seeking to exercise the political and
economic rights that should belong to all Cubans.
Throughout the Americas, dictatorships have given
way to democracy. They are following the path of reconciliation
and forgiveness preached by Cuba's first Cardinal, Jaime Ortega,
during his recent visit here to the United States. Cuba will
follow this course of its neighbors. With the support of the
American people and their representatives in Congress, we can move
toward our common goal of a peaceful transition to democracy in
Cuba. I hope that it will be my privilege as President to welcome
a free Cuba back into the community of democratic nations.

Office of Media Affairs

June 26, 1995
Washington, D.C. -- In a videotaped message to the
Cuban American community, President Clinton will discuss his
recent efforts to stem the dangerous migration of Cuban rafters
across the Florida straits and reiterate his commitment to
peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba.
The President's message will be released on Tuesday,
June 27 at 11:00 a.m. EDT.

TIME: 11:00 a.m. EDT Tuesday, 6/27

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