Bushies -- in wild rhetoric at this point -- attack Cuba

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Wed May 21 03:46:16 MDT 2003

Note by Hunterbear:

Sadly familiar sounds.  Sounds a lot like the obviously
respectability-seeking Leo Casey/"Democratic Left" anti-Cuba petition --
which, of course, concluded with this, "By its actions, the Cuban state
declares that it is not a government of the left, despite its claims of
social progress in education and health care, but just one more
dictatorship, concerned with maintaining its monopoly of power above all

At least a few streams of cultural parallelism in these murky, shark waters.

Hunter [Hunterbear]

Miami Herald
Posted on Wed, May. 21, 2003

President greets freed Cubans
Slams Castro on Radio Martí
tjohnson at herald.com

WASHINGTON - President Bush marked Cuban independence on Tuesday with a
radio address denouncing Fidel Castro and a private meeting with former
political prisoners and their relatives, one of whom emerged and weepily
affirmed that ``this president is on our side.''

Early in the day, government-owned Radio Martí beamed a 40-second statement
by Bush in Spanish to the island.

''My hope is for the Cuban people to soon enjoy the same freedoms and rights
as we do. Dictatorship has no place in the Americas,'' the statement said in

At mid-afternoon at the White House, Bush met with 11 Cuban exile activists,
one-time prisoners and their relatives.

The meeting was closed, but the exiles emerged to the driveway to speak to

''He said categorically that the embargo is supported by this
administration,'' said Angel de Fana, who spent 20 years in Cuban prisons
before leaving for exile. ``There is no way that he is going to reduce the
pressure on this oppressive regime.''

Another exile, Isabel Roque, broke into tears as she approached a

''We leave here satisfied,'' said Roque, sister of dissident economist
Martha Beatriz Roque, who was given a 20-year jail term in a sweeping
crackdown last month. ``He [President Bush] will not abandon us. Rest
assured that this president is on our side.''

White House aides said the scheduled half-hour meeting stretched to a full

Even so, new signs emerged that the Bush administration's policy toward Cuba
is drawing disgruntlement on all sides of the political spectrum. Three
Cuban-Americans in the House, South Florida Republicans who favor sharply
stepped up pressure on the Castro regime, issued a tepid statement of
support for the White House but skipped the meeting.

The small meeting contrasted with last year's events marking Cuban
independence day, in which Bush laid out a series of initiatives aimed at
coaxing Cuba's one-party regime toward political pluralism. Bush hosted a
huge open meeting, then flew to Miami for a rally at which he pledged to
maintain pressure on the Castro regime.


In the past two months, Castro has carried out the most brutal repression of
any in Latin America in the past decade, jailing 75 dissidents and democracy
activists and executing three disaffected Afro-Cuban youths who attempted to
hijack a ferry.

The only other Cuban-American in Congress, Rep. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey
Democrat, blasted Bush for what he called the president's ''dismal record''
on Cuba.

''Your policy has not differed one iota from the Clinton policy,'' Menendez
said. ``Shame on you for not living up to your promises.''

Menendez said Bush has failed to enforce provisions of the Helms-Burton law
to punish foreign investors in Cuba and declined to make Radio and TV Martí
more effective in overcoming Cuban jamming.


Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dismissed a charge made Sunday by the
president of the Cuban National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcón, that he is trying
to persuade his brother to invade Cuba.

''It's interesting that based on the fact that the Bush administration in
Washington is reviewing Cuba policy the Cuban government is responding in
this very outrageous way, saying the invasion is coming around the corner,''
Gov. Bush said.

''I'm frankly privileged to be a target. I feel honored. But after work
we're not putting together a team of the National Guard to prepare an
invasion, I promise you,'' the governor said.

''I don't think the United States should ever, ever eliminate any options as
it relates to foreign policy and national security. Having said that, I
don't see the need for an invasion of Cuba,'' Gov. Bush added.
Herald staff writer Peter Wallsten contributed to this report.

© 2003 The Miami Herald and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

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