Speculation about the future of Cuba’s political leadership was fueled when Fidel Castro did not attend birthday celebrations because of ill health. Fidel Castro's seventy-five year old brother, Raul, is Cuba's interim leader. U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey offered this comment:
"In terms of what happens or what a transition looks like... some sort of Castro dynasty simply by transferring power to Raul Castro and having him continue to operate the same undemocratic repressive policies as his brother is certainly not a solution that we think is viable."
Mr. Casey says that the U.S. believes "The Cuban people need to be given the opportunity to see and have democratic change":
"We believe that is what the Cuban people would like to have and we very much believe that what is important for us is to be able to aid the Cuban people as they move through any potential transition so that those kinds of democratic aspirations could be realized."
Thomas Shannon is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. He says that the U.S. supports an environment in Cuba "where Cubans can actually begin to have a dialogue among themselves about their future":
"Political openings and democratizations can take a variety of forms. And we would be interested in hearing from the Cubans...about how they envision that happening":
Through the U.S. government’s Compact With the Cuban People and its Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, the U.S. is providing humanitarian aid to independent Cuban civil society actors. If asked, the U.S. will also help with preparations for multiparty elections once Cuba is free.
President George W. Bush says he urges "the Cuban people to work for democratic change." He says, "History proves from Poland to South Africa, that patience and courage and resolve can eventually cause oppressive governments to fear and then to fall."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.