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More Cuban Harassment

The government of Fidel Castro cut off power to the main building of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba. U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says it is the only building in the neighborhood without electricity:

"This is the same type of harassment that the Cuban people have had to live with on a daily basis. Work at the interest section continues unabated, including interviews of refugees and direct outreach to the Cuban people. I would just say that the bullying tactics of the Castro regime aren't going to work."

According to news reports, U.S. diplomats in Cuba have had their cars vandalized and windows smashed at their homes. Those tactics are apparently in response to U.S. efforts to assist Cubans working to promote a democratic transition.

Over the past two years, President George W. Bush has committed more than fifty-million dollars to carry out democracy-building activities in Cuba and to improve access to news and information through broadcasts of Radio and Television Martí. Funding also supports efforts by youth, women, and Afro-Cubans to take greater action in support of democracy and human rights in Cuba.

Drew Blakeney, the spokesman for the U.S. Interests Section says "The Cuban people, especially human rights and pro-democracy activists, continue to suffer much more severe harassment on a daily basis than does the U.S. interests section in Havana."

Recently, the Cuban government prevented some Cubans from attending a meeting at the home of Michael Parmly, head of the U.S. Interests Section. They included Martha Beatriz Roque, co-founder of the Association to Support Civil Society in Cuba. As she was preparing to leave for the meeting, a Cuban agent entered her home and attacked and injured her.

In another incident, Elisa Morejon Almagro, the wife of democracy advocate Oscar Elias Biscet, was shoved inside a taxi by two Cuban security agents and forced to return home before attending the meeting at Mr. Parmly's residence.

In a written statement, President George W. Bush said, "The hope of freedom is found in every heart, and it is the future of every land. The United States," said Mr. Bush, "is committed to advancing the values that sustain liberty and helping establish a just and peaceful government in Cuba."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.