Obama: Cuba Will Help with ‘Counter-Terrorism, Disaster Response and Development’

‘Later this summer Secretary Kerry will travel to Cuba formally to proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more’

RUSH TRANSCRIPT:

BARACK OBAMA: "I announced last December that the United States and Cuba were take steps to reestablish our relationship. Since then our State Department has worked hard with our Cuban counterparts to achieve that goal. Later this summer Secretary Kerry will travel to Cuba formally to proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more. This is not merely symbolic. With this change we'll be able to substantially increase our contacts with the Cuban people. We'll have personnel at our embassy and our diplomats can engage across the island with the government, ordinary society and Cubans reaching for a better life. On counter-terrorism, disaster response and development we'll find new ways to cooperate with Cuba. I have been clear we'll continue to have some very serious differences. That will include America's enduring support for universal values like freedom of speech and assembly and ability to access information. We'll not hesitate to speak out when we see actions that contradict those values. However, I strongly believe the best way for America to support our values is through engagement. That's why we have taken steps to allow for greater travel, people to people and commercial ties between the United States and Cuba."

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