Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bush announces plan to help democratic transition in Cuba

Bush announces plan to help democratic transition in Cuba

Bush to speak out against Castro power transfer

Cuba accuses Bush of "lying" and "bossiness" at UN

Cuban delegation walks out to protest Bush UN speech
US President George W Bush said Wednesday the Cuban regime was in its
"dying gasps" and announced new initiatives to help speed a transition
to democratic and economic freedoms in the communist country.

"Now is the time to support the democratic movements growing on the
island," Bush said in a speech at the State Department in Washington.

Bush announced that the United States will ask countries to contribute
to a multi-billion-dollar "freedom fund" that would provide loans and
grants to Cubans to ease the transition, but only after the government
allows real elections and basic freedoms.

"Once these freedoms are in place, the fund will be able to give Cubans,
especially Cuban entrepreneurs, access to grants and loans and debt
relief to help rebuild their country," Bush said.

Among the other initiatives Bush announced was licensing non-
governmental organizations to provide the Cuban public with computers
and the internet if the regime lifts restrictions on information, and
expanding a US scholarship programme to include Cuban students "if the
Cuban rulers will allow them to freely participate," Bush said.

"We make these offers to the people of Cuba, and we hope their rulers
will allow them to accept," Bush said. "We've made similar offers before
but they've been rejected out of hand by the regime." dpa mm aw

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