Cuban dissidents attack Bush
A group of Cuban dissidents has sharply criticised the US for measures
aimed at speeding up the end of Fidel Castro's communist rule.
Leading dissident Oswaldo Paya said it was up to Cubans, not the US, to
bring about change in the country.
US President George W Bush on Thursday endorsed new sanctions and a $36m
plan to promote change in Cuba.
Two other Cuban dissidents handed in a protest letter at the US
diplomatic mission in Havana.
One of the authors, Manuel Cuesta, said the US had "no right to set the
pace of a transition in Cuba".
The other, fellow dissident Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, said: "This is a
total interference that does not benefit the building of democracy in
He said his letter to US Secretary of State Colin Powell said the US
plan was tantamount to incitement to armed conflict.
"It is not appropriate or acceptable for any forces outside Cuba to try
to design the Cuban transition process," said Mr Paya, winner of the
European Parliament's Andrei Sakharov human rights prize, in a separate
He has led the Varela Project, collecting 25,000 signatures seeking to
effect political and economic reforms from within the current system.
Bush would like to see Castro out of power
Veteran Cuban human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez described the
proposals as "totally counterproductive and clearly involve meddling"
Mr Bush agreed to tough new measures suggested in a report by the
Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba.
The proposals are designed to hasten the fall of Cuban leader Fidel
Castro, and prevent his younger brother Raul Castro succeeding him.
Measures included renewed efforts to broadcast pro-democracy messages in
Cuba and further curbs on money sent home by Cuban exiles.
"We're not waiting for the day of Cuban freedom, we are working for the
day of freedom," Mr Bush said.
Cuban-American Republican members of Congress reportedly welcomed the
Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry said Mr Bush was playing
Source: BBC London