Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Reactions

From International Herald Tribune:

"Our policy really is one of utter sterility," said Wayne Smith, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a onetime chief of mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. "We warn the Cubans not to go for transition but it has already happened, and short of some kind of massive military action, which we're in no position to take, there's nothing that we can do."

John Kavulich, senior policy adviser at the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, said the administration demands would most likely be nonstarters. He said the technology and educational opportunities Bush offered are being provided to Cuba by Venezuela and China.

Bush has remained largely silent, [Phil] Peters said, while Raúl Castro consolidated his control over Cuban institutions by establishing his own relationships with world leaders and opening dialogue with the Cuban people.

Meanwhile, the doomsday scenarios predicted for Cuba once Fidel Castro left power - a violent uprising by dissidents and an exodus of Cuban refugees - never materialized. "The administration realized they had missed the boat," Peters said. "Succession has already happened."

From Associated Press(Will Weissert):

"I really hoped for something more," said dissident economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe. "Change in Cuba will never be radical and happen overnight like President Bush said."

He said he would like the U.S. embargo loosened to let Cuban-Americans travel more freely to the island and suggested it shouldn't rule out talks with Raul Castro, who has shown signs of being open to some economic reforms.

"The United States negotiated with North Korea and the results were something positive. I don't see why they can't negotiate with Cuba."

But another leading dissident, Martha Beatriz Roque, said she was pleased that Bush said Cubans themselves must bring about change. "There's no intention to invade Cuba," she said. "That's important, because the Cuban government wants to make us believe there is."

From Associated Press (Ben Feller):

"The president, in his commendable desire to make Cuba free, has unwittingly made it more likely that both Raul and Fidel will celebrate the revolution's 50th anniversary in January 2009," [Vicky] Huddleston said. "And Fidel — aging and infirm — will probably be around to celebrate having outmaneuvered two Bush administrations and 10 American presidents."

From UK Member of Parliament Colin Burgon:

"The ignorance of international law of the current US President is very well known. However, this latest statement on the internal affairs of a Cuba is tantamount to calling for a coup against a sovereign state. The UN position on US interference in Cuba is crystal clear in its condemnation, as is that of the UK government, or so we are told. It is time for our government to state publicly that it cannot be acceptable for the US to dictate affairs in other countries and to remind our special friend of the UN Charter. The arrogance of the US is both worrying and lamentable."

From Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque:

"You will never force us to our knees," Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said in response to Bush's speech, which came 15 months after ailing leader Fidel Castro handed over power to his brother.

Perez said that was an "invitation to violence" by Bush. "Cuba categorically rejects the stimulation of violence and the invocation of the use of force," he said at a news conference.

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