President Trump blasts Cuba in first address to UN General Assembly

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President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Official White House photo by D. Myles Cullen.

In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Donald Trump reiterated his administration’s promise not to lift sanctions on Cuba until it makes “fundamental reforms.”

“The United States has stood against the corrupt and destabilizing regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom,” Trump said.

Trump’s tough talk on Cuba at the U.N. contrasts sharply with the stance of former President Barack Obama. Last year, the U.S. abstained for the first time in an annual U.N. resolution that condemns the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. The Trump administration is expected to vote “no” later this week on the U.N. resolution Cuba has introduced every year for the last 25 years.

After criticizing Cuba, Trump turned his attention to condemning Venezuela, the island’s most important ally.

“The socialist dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country,” Trump said. “This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried.”

Trump thanked world leaders who have condemned the Maduro government, and urged others to be prepared to do more to address the crisis. The comments came one day after he met with leaders from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Panama for dinner to discuss the Venezuelan crisis.

Trump also used his General Assembly remarks to condemn countries such as North Korea, Iran, and Syria. The president applauded some of the U.N.’s accomplishments, but also criticized its bureaucratic nature and said “the United States bears an unfair cost burden.”

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