http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/president-bush-on-us-cuba-policy-at-120pm-and-guiterrez-discussion/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

President Bush on Cuba Policy at 1:20PM and Guiterrez discussion at 3:30PM

Posted October 24, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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President Bush will be speaking about US Cuba policy at 1:20pm Eastern time at the Department of State, Benjamin Franklin Reception Room.

Cspan will be carrying the event so check your local listings.

Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez will host an “Ask the White House” online discussion today (Wednesday October 24) at 3:30 PM EDT regarding the Administration’s Cuba policy.

You can submit a question from this official White House web page.

Member Comments

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

On Fox news right now.

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

So far, it’s a great speech. Several family members of Cuban political prisoners are behind the President.

He cites many examples of life in Cuba.

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

“Now is the time to stand up for the Cuban people”

“Cuba’s unknown horrors will shock the world”

“Urges Congress to maintain Embargo on the dictatorship until it changes”

“Suffering is not because of the Embargo it is because of communism”

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

“US is largest provider of Cuban aid in entire world”

“Aid goes directly to Cuban people”

“Heart of policy is to break hold by regime of resources”

License NGOs to give computers to Cubans if government lifts Internet restrictions

More “donations” IF the government “get out of the way”.

Cuba will not improve if they exchange one dictator for another.

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

Will not support old system with new faces.

Operative word is not stability. Operative word is freedom.

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

Freedom Fund for Cuba

Cuban government must enable economic and political freedoms and elections THEN the funds will be released in the way of grants, loans and debt relief.

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

Now speaking to Cuban officials who do not have blood on their hands. Will you defend a dying order by using force against your own people? There is a place for you in a new Cuba.

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

To ordinary Cubans, you can have your leaders answer to you.

“Your day is coming soon”

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

To school children in Cuba

Do not believe the tired lies you are told about America.

“Your day is coming soon”

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

He ends the speech with

Viva Cuba Libre

All the family members are very emotional and he hugs them as he leaves.

Overall, I am happy to see the President give some thought to Cuba. Unfortunately not much thought went into the speech.

Overall, it’s the same old message… become just like the US or we’ll keep the Embargo and only tease you with the amount of money “in” this new fund.

Some fund! The US will get countries to contribute to the fund but the funds will not be released unless a long list of conditions are met.

So, I wouldn’t wait for those “funds” to be disbursed.  It’s just another tool for rhetoric.

I was hoping to hear more diplomacy perhaps encouraging Raul to release some political prisoners but the speech didn’t have that tone.

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

I agree with ANDRES OPPENHEIMER of THE OPPENHEIMER REPORT from the Miami Herald.

He just posted Bush’s Cuba speech was only half right. It is well written, cites both sides of the pro and anti Embargo argument and settles on the side of the Cuban people’s human right.

A good read.

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On October 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

Read the questions and answers with Secretary Gutierrez

http://www.whitehouse.gov/ask/live.html

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On October 25, 2007, MapleRum wrote:

So now George is dangling a carrot in front of Cubanos, “Be like us and we will give you some money”. Chavez on the other hand is giving two billion dollars a year because he wants to be like a Cubano, What a friggin’ mess! George wants to give Cuba money that he does not have, that in fact will be borrowed money from China. The Whitehouse keeps on referring to dictatorships yet dictates terms.

The fine art of negotiation is to have inclusion, inviting an open dialogue to a solution that is suitable for both sides and opens up the idea that the solution could be better than ether side had thought of in the first place. Present the idea of democracy in a softer term by using role countries such as Norway or Sweden. Bush should identify what is good about Cuba and then suggest additions on how he wants to help make things better because he cares about people.

Over the past fifty years the rhetoric from both the USA and Cuba and the distortion of fact has given Americans a twisted reality of what Cuba really is. There is so much misinformation that when a brave person such as Oswaldo Paya speaks, the valid and important messages are getting lost.

Lastly, George has wasted our time as Raul Castro has already stated that he will be open to discussions when a Democrat becomes president of the U.S.A. This is a good sign that an open dialogue can start, something that hasn’t happened in fifty years. It seems that most Americans don’t want to listen to Bush, so why would the people of Cuba want to listen to him.

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On October 25, 2007, publisher wrote:

Well said.

I think this was a genuine George Bush attempt to “reach out” or maybe I should say “reach into” Cuba with his best foot forward. However, the Embargo is still a failed policy and now “bribing” the Cuban government with some fund that will not contain any real money is just another silly idea in this long history of silly ideas.

Either engage with Cuba and treat them with respect or do nothing until 2009 when someone else can have a fresh look at the embargo.

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On October 25, 2007, publisher wrote:

Granma’s response to President Bush’s new initiatives on Cuba.

http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2007/octubre/mier24/43felipe-i.html

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On October 25, 2007, MapleRum wrote:

Cuba is a very resilient country, a great place to study adaptive use and shows little signs of being desperate. Of course things could be much better, but in a strange way the nation will exist the way it is. The communist government in Cuba has known the fine line between too much aggression and the little bribes such as new rice cookers. A unilateral embargo was doomed from the beginning and the wise solution for Bush would have been to admit this. A complete and clear declaration of a new start where equals meet to come up with a new solution. The current embargo has backed the United States into a one way dead end. A genuine “reach out” would include a brave new approach and forethought, I see none of this from the last wave of rhetoric. More than likely a successful solution will need a neutral third party country to broker a deal. A very good way to establish trust and dispel the myths about each other.

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On October 25, 2007, J. Perez wrote:

MapleRum hit the nail right on its head!!

Whatever energy Mr. Bush has left he should employ it in attempting to fix the mess he has created in the Middle East. This “new initiative on Cuba” is just another clue as to how “out to lunch” the guy is, there is nothing new about it that hasn’t been said by at least 7 other presidents over the last 46 years.

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On October 29, 2007, publisher wrote:

Here is my Congressman Bill Delahunt’s response to the President’s speech:

  “Today, President Bush gave his first major address on US policy toward Cuba in four years.  He could have used the occasion to announce a break with a strategy that has seen nothing but decades of failure.  That has only hurt Americans and Cubans alike.  That has been rejected by dissidents struggling on the island and by the Cuban Catholic Church.  That has isolated America from some of our closest allies instead of isolating the Cuban regime.  And that has left the United States open to charges of hypocrisy and inconsistency.

  “President Bush could have announced that he was seeking to end the embargo on Cuba.  After all, we trade freely with regimes like China and Vietnam, which – last time I checked – are not democracies.

  “He could have announced that he was restoring diplomatic relations, so that an American Embassy could advance US interests, as we are doing in Libya – which is still a dictatorship.

  “He could have announced that he was ending the US government prohibition on travel by Americans to Cuba – the only country in the world that the American government prevents its citizens from visiting.  If ordinary Americans can go to Egypt and Burma, which are governed by authoritarian regimes, why doesn’t our government trust them to go to Cuba?

  “At the very least he could have ended the shockingly cruel restrictions he imposed on Cuban-Americans in 2004 – allowing them only to visit their families once every three years, with no exceptions for severe illness or death.  He has not inflicted such heartless restrictions on Iranian-Americans or Korean-Americans; why is it acceptable to do so to Cuban-Americans?

  “Ending the embargo, or at least the travel ban, is what will open up Cuba to the outside world and allow assistance by individual Americans to go directly to the Cuban people.  And changing our approach to Cuba will bring more credibility to our efforts to promote democracy in the world – thus improving the image of America, which under this President has sunk to such low levels that, according to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, our national security is threatened.

  “Instead, President Bush offered nothing new.  Just more rhetoric designed to appeal to a shrinking domestic audience in a key electoral state. In doing so he missed a golden opportunity to help Cubans – and Americans.”

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On October 30, 2007, J. Perez wrote:

Mr. Delahunt’s response is, of course, not only correct but also the most intelligent policy this country could pursue if they really want to effect positive changes in Cuba.

I have recently returned from two weeks in Cuba and I can tell you without any reservations that an overwhelming majority of Cubans want to see changes and believed that changes are needed, but I also sensed a lot of resentment to the absurd policy this country has towards Cuba. To put it simply, we are not making friends there, the Canadians are, the Spanish are, the Chinese are, even the Russians after the 91 debacle are starting to make inroads again.

It is very sad to see a great nation like ours to behave in this manner.

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On November 01, 2007, publisher wrote:

Here is the full text of President Bush’s speech Encouraging Freedom, Justice, And Prosperity In Cuba along with a fact sheet from the US Department of State.