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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Condoleezza Rice pushing for regime change in Cuba

Posted December 21, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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Forbes.com

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday chaired the second session of a panel to “hasten and ease a democratic transition” in Cuba and spoke of change partly by denying the Castro government money and supplying the Cuban people with information.

Official U.S. policy is to undermine the planned succession in Cuba from President Fidel Castro, 79 and apparently ailing, to his 74-year-old brother, Raul. It has been left unclear how to bring that about, although Cuba has been under an economic embargo from the United States since 1961, two years after Castro took power.

President Bush appointed the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba in late 2003 under the leadership of Rice’s predecessor, Colin Powell, and received its first recommendations in May 2004.

In a statement after the meeting, Rice noted that the panel was formed “to explore ways the U.S. can help hasten and ease a democratic transition in Cuba.”

“Reconvening the commission at this time sends an important message to the people of Cuba, the current dictatorship and our friends and democratic allies,” she said. That message is, she said: “After 46 years of cruel dictatorship, now is the time for change in Cuba.”

Rice said the commission’s effectiveness comes from integrating the administration’s Cuba policy with all agencies of the federal government. By doing that, and implementing the first report’s recommendations, she said:

“We have empowered Cuban civil society to better organize and advocate for democratic change; we have established measures that denied millions of dollars in revenue to the dictatorship; we are breaking the regime’s information blockade on the Cuban people; and we have drawn greater attention to the dictatorship’s deplorable treatment of the Cuban people.”

Rice said she reconvened the commission to come up with more ways “to help Cubans hasten the day when they will be free from oppression and to develop a concise but flexible strategic plan that will help the Cuban people move rapidly toward free and fair democratic elections.”

It will not be imposed on the Cuban people, Rice’s statement said, “but rather is a promise we will keep with the Cuban people.”

The main goal, she said, is “to marshal our resources and expertise and encourage our democratic allies to be ready to support Cuba when the inevitable opportunity for genuine change arises.”

Rice said the commission’s new report will be completed by May 2006, when it will report to the president its “updated recommendations to hasten democracy and an interagency strategic plan to assist a Cuban-led transition.”

The anti-Castro rules in place have drawn some opposition from Cubans in the United States, especially restrictions on travel and sending money to Cuba. Many Cuban-Americans and Cuban residents of the United States are important sources of income for families still on the island.

Member Comments

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On December 21, 2005, publisher wrote:

Isn’t she busy enough with the war in Iraq, nuclear threats in Iran and North Korea and all the other problems in the world than to listen to the biased Cuban exiles, probably promising her money for her Presidential run.

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On December 21, 2005, DeeDee wrote:

wait…......which biased Cuban exiles.  and what makes them biased?

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On December 21, 2005, yumaguy wrote:

It’ not bias, it’ hate. Unfortunately, that hate has been focused on supporting policies that really haven’t accomplished much after nearly 45 years except maybe “contain” the Castro regime and maintain the “status quo”

There was a brief period of time in the early 80’ when some Cuban-American exiles tried a different approach which involved negotiation and dÈtente with the Cuban regime but those people ran into problems. One, who was a Pedro Pan that grew up to be a prominent banker in Miami, was practically intimidated out of his own home town to which he had contributed so much economically. (People took their bank accounts to other places because they were afraid to be associated with the guy.)  Another exile, famous for his cigars, had his warehouse BOMBED FOUR TIMES, although fortunately, no one was killed or seriously hurt.

But I don’t think I will talk any more about this because I wouldn’t want MY LEGS BLOWN OFF since that actually happened to a Cuban-American who had a political radio show in Miami and said some things that seemed to have ticked some people off.

Don’t you just miss the 80’?  wink

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On December 22, 2005, jesusp wrote:

The problem is they are not busy with the war in Iraq or the problems with Iran and North Korea, they just haven’t got a clue about what to do in these areas, so why not entertain themselves with illusions of bringing change to Cuba.

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On December 23, 2005, DeeDee wrote:

So are you saying the should not address the Cuban transition when Castro dies????

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On December 24, 2005, pac wrote:

Don’t believe for a minute that our government, especially Condi,W., J. Snow and that crowd are concerned with making things better for the Cuban people. They would like nothing better than to roar back into the business of exploiting Cuban labor, owning Cuban hotels, building big new casinos, and in general screwing things up. I am not an apologist for Fidel, but the revolution had to happen. Someone had to say, “Enough!” Raul does not have the support of the Cuban people. If he is handed power, it will be transient, he does not have the charisma of his brother. The greatest fear that I hear from the average Cuban in the street is that when Fidel goes, the USA will rush back into the country. None of them desire that.

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On December 25, 2005, Dana Garrett wrote:

“So are you saying the[y] should not address the Cuban transition when Castro dies????”

That’ what I would say.  In fact, when I read words like these—“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday chaired the second session of a panel to ‘hasten and ease a democratic transition’ in Cuba…”—I am flabbergasted at the utter arrogance of such a meeting and the total disregaed for the sovereignty of the Cuban people to determine their own fate. 

Who the hell is the USA to be planning the “democratic transition” of Cuba?  What hubris to believe that everyone in the world wants to be just like the USA or to be one of its puppet states. 

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On December 26, 2005, jesusp wrote:

I could not have said it better Dana.

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On December 26, 2005, pac wrote:

I am saying that what happens when Fidel departs is the business of the Cuban people. Those who live in Cuba. Not those who live in Miami or New Jersey. The US needs to be concerned with how it will respond to the new leader, but it has no business planning how it can engineer a government that it approves of. That is how we get into trouble around the world. There is a leftward, liberal move throughtout Latin America at present. Most of the newer governments are not those of the US’ choosing. We much prefer to support the conservative, non-socialst leaning states. In Cuba the US supported Grau, Machado, Batista. Do you think Cuba would be better with someone of that ilk? Our track record of helping the people stinks. Why would any Cuban believe that the US has their best interests at heart?

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On December 26, 2005, DeeDee wrote:

Pac:

What do you think our track record is?  I think we can always do better with our track record.  Be specific please….....I disagree with you in regard to your track record statement.  Please elaborate.

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On December 27, 2005, pac wrote:

First of all, democracy is a commitment made by the people of a country. One cannot go anywhere on the globe and establish “democracy.” If your track record is poor (as ours is vis-a-vis Cuba), then the people will resist, why there might even be an “insurgency” movement! Democracy can only work from within. The people must desire it. Under “democracy” in Cuba, life expectancy was in the 40s, literacy rates were around 40-45%, and there was no health care outside the major cities. If you remember or have been told in your history books, why would that appeal to you? It won’t. We need to render support to Cuba through the UN or OAS when the time is right. We don’t need to send government wonks down there to “help” them. We should have been helping them for the past thirty years. They have done nothing harmful to us in that time. This has all been political theater played out by a master, Fidel Castro. What are they going to do? Lob soft mangoes at Florida?

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On December 29, 2005, pac wrote:

You can start by looking at our “track record” throughout Central America—El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Panama. We have consistently been on the side of the conservative and fascist government. Look at what we are doing in Colombia presently. We have assassinated leaders in more than one of these counntries. Unfortunately the real truth of the matter is, when it comes to “democracy” we’re not very nice people as a government. Having taken student groups to Cuba many times, one of the most interesting things is to see the students realize that what they have been told by their own country is not the truth. The most oppressive thing in Cuba is the poverty. It is different from other Latin American countries, there are no people living in cardboard shacks as there are in Puerto Rico ( a US Protectorate), but the average Cuban barely scrapes by at a subsistence level. None the less most of my older Cuban friends-60s and 70s- say “Communista no, Fidelista si!” The hope for the country is with the young people who are educated and have ambitions for a better life, that is slowly happening through the tourism, but there are light years to go.