Trump bashes Obama's Cuba policy

President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE on Tuesday criticized his predecessor's policy on Cuba, touting his own accomplishments in the region as part of his third State of the Union address.

"As we restore American leadership throughout the world, we are once again standing up for freedom in our hemisphere," Trump said before a joint session of Congress. "That is why my administration reversed the failing policies of the previous administration on Cuba."

Former President Obama led an opening of U.S. relations with communist Cuba, arguing that the longstanding embargo against the island nation had failed to bring about regime change.

Trump's policy has instead focused on pressuring Cuba and its regional allies Venezuela and Nicaragua with increasing sanctions aimed at their political, economic and military leaders.

The president's rebuke of Obama's regional policies followed a theme of Tuesday's speech -- contrasting Obama's policies with his own.

Trump used his remarks on Cuba as a segue to the introduction of his surprise guest, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognized by the United States and 58 other governments as the country's legitimate president.