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Posted December 16, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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“Our government will establish a Commission for the Assistance to a Free Cuba, to plan for the happy day when Castro’s regime is no more and democracy comes to the island.”

President George W. Bush, October 10, 2003

On December 5, 2003, the President’s Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba held its inaugural meeting at the White House. The meeting was co-chaired by Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez. Also in attendance were Secretary of Commerce Don Evans, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

United States policy regarding Cuba is clear—hasten Cuba’s peaceful transition to a representative democracy and a free market economy—ending decades of an oppressive dictatorship. The President created the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba to focus the United States government efforts on achieving this objective.

Specifically, the Commission will:

o identify additional means by which the United States can help the Cuban people bring about an expeditious end of the dictatorship; and

o consider the requirements for United States assistance to a post-dictatorship Cuba.

By May 1, 2004, the Commission will provide an initial report to the President regarding the recommended elements of a comprehensive program to assist the Cuban people to:

o bring about a peaceful, near-term end to the dictatorship; o establish democratic institutions, respect for human rights, and the rule of law; o create the core institutions of a free economy; o modernize infrastructure; and o meet basic needs in the areas of health, education, housing, and human services.

The Commission consists of representatives from:

The Departments of State, the Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, the United States Agency for International Development, National Security Council, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Management and Budget, United States Trade Representative, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

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