[Marxism] Kerry: Bush is too soft on Cuba

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed May 12 06:50:08 MDT 2004

Associated Press
May 11, 2004

U.S. Seeks to Subvert Succession in Cuba

By George Gedda

Washington - Cuban President Fidel Castro (news - web sites) usually 
offers an inviting target during U.S. presidential election campaigns.

President Bush (news - web sites), accused by some in his party of not 
doing enough to confront Castro, offered them on Thursday what amounts 
to a policy of regime change in Cuba.

"We're not waiting for the day of Cuban freedom, we are working for the 
day of freedom in Cuba," Bush told reporters.

A presidential commission recommended that the United States subvert the 
planned succession in Cuba under which power would pass from Castro to 
his younger brother, Raul.

Although Bush did not address that issue directly, an aide said the 
president generally accepts the commission's proposals.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) said 
Bush was playing election-year politics.

"Four years after candidate Bush came to Florida and promised 
Cuban-Americans the moon, all they've gotten from this president is lip 
service and broken promises," Kerry said in a statement.

Kerry pledged that, as president, he would fight full time for freedom 
and democracy on the island.

Bush has taken some steps to demonstrate his deep disregard for the 
Cuban leader, who turns 78 in August. But his comments Thursday seemed 
to add a new dimension to his belligerence.

Cuban-American Republican members of Congress said they were pleased. 
Five senators, including two Republicans, were not.

"Opening America's doors to Cuba - and challenging Cuba to open its 
doors to the rest of the world - will be an act of strength and 
magnanimity," they said in a letter to Bush.

The commission, headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web 
sites), said the United States "rejects the continuation of a communist 
dictatorship" on the island.

The commission recommended measures in its report "to focus pressure and 
attention on the ruling elite so that a succession by this elite or any 
one of its individuals is seen as what it would be: an impediment to a 
democratic and free Cuba."

The 500-page report was made public after Bush discussed it with 
commission members at the White House.

A White House fact sheet listed several immediate actions ordered by 
Bush based on the report. He restricted family visits by Cuban-Americans 
to once every three years instead of the current one-per-year. He 
retained the $1,200-a-year limit on dollar transfers that Cuban-American 
families can send to the island.

He also restricted remittances and gift parcels to immediate family 
members. Recipients could not include "certain Cuban officials and 
Communist Party members."

Also, the authorized per diem amount for a family visit was lowered to 
$50, compared with $164 now.

It was unclear how these restrictions would be enforced.

The plan under which Defense Minister Raul Castro would succeed his 
brother has been in place for years.

Fidel Castro is president of the council of state and of the council of 
ministers. Raul, who will turn 73 in June, is the first vice president 
of both councils.

"The Castro dictatorship is pursuing every means at its disposal to 
survive and perpetuate itself through a 'succession strategy' from Fidel 
Castro to Raul Castro and beyond," the commission said.

It was uncertain whether the question of subverting the succession plan 
is addressed in more detail in a classified section of the report.


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