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Posted May 07, 2004 by publisher in US Embargo

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By JOHN RICE | Associated Press Writer

HAVANA - (AP)—Cuba’s government denounced new U.S. recommendations meant to replace communism here as ‘‘maniacal and crazed’’ and said Friday the proposals would punish Cubans in the United States as well as those on the island.

A government statement published by the Communist Party daily Granma ridiculed the recommendations of a U.S. presidential commission that called for subverting the planned succession in Cuba from President Fidel Castro to his younger brother, Raul, as well as further choking the flow of funds to Cuba.

‘‘It constitutes a flagrant violation of the human rights of 11 million Cubans it wants to surrender through hunger and illness,’’ the document said.

The measures ‘‘also constitute a violation of the rights of citizens of Cuban origin in the United States’’ by restricting their ability to visit and aid family members, according to the Cuban statement.

In the typically strident tone of Cuban statements about U.S. government policies, it referred at one point to U.S. President George W. Bush as ‘‘the fuhrer’’ and said the report was the “drooling of a maniacal and crazed transition program for Cuba by a fraudulently elected present.’‘

The report, it said, ‘‘could not contain more lies, rancor, frustration and intervention in the internal affairs of a country,’’ though it gave readers a detailed breakdown of the recommendations.

The Cuban statement appealed to the concerns of Cuban-Americans for their relatives on the island, noting that the regulations would restrict visits and shipments of funds to uncles, aunts or cousins.

‘‘In the future, a cousin, an aunt or another close relative will not be, according to President Bush, a member of the family,’’ it said.

While Cuba has recently changed rules to make family visits easier, the report said, ‘‘the government of the United States is multiplying obstacles’’ by limiting family visits to one every three years instead of once a year.

Reducing the amount of money that visitors can spend to US$50 from US$164 a day is ‘‘a new and arbitrary discrimination against the Cuban community in the United States,’’ it said.

It accused the United States of violating international law by promoting other measures meant to topple the Cuban government and alleged the United States of running ‘‘a horrible concentration camp’’ for suspects in the war on terror at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo near the eastern tip of Cuba.

The United States has restricted trade and travel to Cuba for most of the time since the early 1960s in an attempt to topple Castro’s government.

Dissidents on the island, as usual, had mixed responses.

Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, told the Associated Press that he welcomed the attention to Cuba’s needs and said, “We are going to need a lot of help.’‘

But he added, ‘‘I feel skeptical in the short term,’’ saying that many of the measures had been announced in earlier years.

‘‘What worries me most is the measure of restricting the freedom of movement,’’ he said, referring to limits on family visits.

Blind attorney Juan Carlos Leiva, who was released late last month after serving 26 months in prison for insubordination and resisting arrest, greeted the plan.

‘‘They are measures by a democratic government against one that is not,’’ he said.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on May 11, 2004 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Did anyone working on this report talk with any dissidents on the island to see what they might truly want from the US government?

    We will never know but I can guess the answer. No.



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