The U.S. is reaffirming its commitment to the Cuban people. In a written statement, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the goal of the U.S. "is to see a free and democratic Cuba reintegrated into the Inter-American system, a Cuba that reflects the objectives set forth in the Inter-American Democratic Charter."
Mr. McCormack says, the assumption of power by Raul Castro, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's brother, "denies the Cuban people their right to freely elect their government." Raul Castro has temporarily taken over while Fidel reportedly recovers from intestinal surgery. In a message to Cubans,
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the U.S. is "closely watching the events in Cuba":
"Much is changing there, yet one thing remains constant: America's commitment to supporting a future of freedom for Cuba, a future that will be defined by you – the Cuban people."
The U.S., says Ms. Rice, will stand with Cubans to secure their rights to speak and think as they choose, and to participate in democratic elections:
"All Cubans who desire peaceful democratic change can count on the support of the United States. We encourage the Cuban people to work at home for positive change, and we stand ready to provide you with humanitarian assistance, as you begin to chart a new course for your country. The United States is also encouraging all democratic nations to join together and call for the release of political prisoners, for the restoration of your fundamental freedoms, and for a transition that quickly leads to multiparty elections in Cuba."
"It has long been the hope of the United States that a free, independent, and democratic Cuba would be more than just a close neighbor – it would be a close friend," says Secretary of State Rice. "This is our goal, now more than ever," she says.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.