During a nationwide address on Tuesday,
President Barack Obama told the Cuban people that voting is the best
way for nations to solve problems.
“I've made it clear that the United
States has neither the capacity, or the intention to impose change on
Cuba,” Obama said during his historic speech in Havana. “But
having removed the shadow of history from our relationship, I must
speak honestly about the things that I believe – the things that
we, as Americans, believe.”
“I believe that every person should
be equal under the law. Every child deserves the dignity that comes
with education, and health care and food on the table and a roof over
their heads. I believe citizens should be free to speak their mind
without fear, to organize, and to criticize their government, and to
protest peacefully, and that the rule of law should not include
arbitrary detentions of people who exercise those rights. I believe
that every person should have the freedom to practice their faith
peacefully and publicly. And, yes, I believe voters should be able
to choose their governments in free and democratic elections.”
“I'm not saying [change] is easy.
There's still enormous problems in our society. But democracy is the
way that we solve them. That's how we got health care for more of
our people. That's how we made enormous gains in women's rights and
gay rights,” he added.
Cuban President Raul Castro was among
those who attended the speech.
Later in the day, Obama and Castro
attended an exhibition baseball game between the Cuban national team
and the Tampa Bay Rays.