Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Just the News that Democrats and progressives who are blaming U.S. sanctions for the economic problems in Cuba are lying to the public.
Pompeo also said he hopes the Biden administration continues the work of the Trump administration in putting “real pressure” on the Cuban regime.
Cubam President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who is the leader of the Communist Party, blamed the U.S. embargo for the protests across the country in an interview with a state-controlled media outlet. In reaction to the protests, some U.S. Democratic lawmakers such as California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna and Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern have called for an end to the U.S embargo.
“The Cuban government must respect the right of its people to peacefully and legitimately protest,” McGovern said. “And the U.S. government must end our embargo which has been a miserable failure and caused great suffering for the Cuban people.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a former Democratic presidential candidate, said it’s “long past time to end the unilateral U.S. embargo on Cuba, which has only hurt, not helped, the Cuban people.”
Pompeo, a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, was asked for his reaction to progressives arguing that the U.S. sanctions are the reason why Cubans are taking to the streets calling for freedom.
“Yeah, that’s a lie, that’s a lie,” Pompeo said after delivering a keynote speech at the International Summit on Religious Freedom. “This is about the Cuban people. This is them demanding their freedom after suffering under authoritarian regimes for decades. The United States put real pressure, under the Trump administration, on the regime.
“And you can see the people responding to that with love and kindness, waving U.S. flags. The Cuban people know that the United States is with them. I hope this administration will continue to head down that same path.”
Pompeo was also asked if he thinks a similar situation will play out in Venezuela, where citizens protest for freedom from the Maduro regime.
“I want freedom for the Venezuelan people too,” he said. “Maduro has got to go. We indicted him as a narcotrafficker. We worked really hard to help the Venezuelan people. I’m praying for them.”