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Hope For Democratic Change In Cuba

President George W. Bush says "At this time of uncertainty in Cuba, one thing is clear." "The U.S.," he says, "is absolutely committed to supporting the Cuban people's aspirations for democracy and freedom."

The United States is monitoring the situation in Cuba following the announcement of a transfer of power. Defense Minister Raul Castro is now serving as head of Cuba's Communist regime while his brother, longtime dictator Fidel Castro, recovers from what news reports describe as intestinal surgery.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says in Cuba "The fact of the matter is, this is a pretty closed decision-making circle":

"I don't think there are too many people outside that small core group of people who run Cuba who really know what is going on. . . .I can only say that a transition to Raul Castro is just yet another imposition of this regime on the Cuban people of an authoritarian government that, in virtually every way, runs contradictory to the democratic values that you see in virtually every other country in the hemisphere."

Through its Compact with the Cuban People and its Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, the U.S. commits to provide massive humanitarian aid to Cubans on the island. If asked, the U.S. would also help with preparations for multiparty elections once Cuba is free.

β€œI urge the Cuban people to work for democratic change on the island,” said President George W. Bush. β€œIt has long been the hope of the United States to have a free, independent, and democratic Cuba as a close friend and neighbor. . . .in achieving this, the Cuban people can count on the full and unconditional support of the United States,” said Mr. Bush.

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