President Donald Trump delivered an address in Miami Friday honoring the suffering of the Cuban exile community following the 1959 communist revolution and announcing new American policies to corner and weaken the Castro regime.
During that announcement, Trump paused regularly to praise the resilience of Cuban freedom fighters of all stripes: political prisoners, activist leaders, and all who have suffered and given witness to the violence of communism on the island.
Towards the end of the address, the president yielded his time to Luis Haza, an accomplished violinist, maestro, educator, and human rights advocate who has played with the National Symphony Orchestra for decades as well as, notably, once performing for the Cuban communist regime.
Trump did not yield his time before telling Haza’s story. Haza’s father, formerly the police chief of the eastern regional capital Santiago de Cuba, was “one of 71 Cubans executed by firing squad” in that city in the immediate aftermath of the revolution. Haza dove head-first into music and, Trump explained, the government “saw his gift and wanted to use him for propaganda purposes.”
As a boy, Haza had defied the regime, delivering a surprise performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before high-ranking revolutionaries.
He survived to tell the tale and repeat that performance on Friday, playing America’s national anthem for the audience congregated to welcome the new Trump-era policy on the communist regime.
Trump announced changes to predecessor Barack Obama’s “normalization” diplomacy, which granted the Castro regime a series of economic concessions in exchange for no changes in human rights policy or political and religious freedoms. Among them would be the elimination of “individual people-to-people” travel to Cuba and U.S. Treasury policies to isolate corporations owned by the Cuban military.
Watch Haza’s performance in Miami Friday above.