Tuesday, 19 February, 2008 6:56 PM
Fidel Castro Steps Down After
Almost 50 Years in Power
Sarah Stephens, director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas,
released the following statement about the retirement of Cuba's
president Fidel Castro:
"The United States
has just spent almost fifty years trying to stop an event that has
just taken place. Fidel Castro's retirement and his peaceful replacement
with new leadership in Cuba is the clearest possible demonstration
that U.S. policy has failed.
"After every U.S.
President since Eisenhower tried to kill or topple Fidel Castro
from power, it is essential that we have a new policy of engagement
that respects Cuba's sovereignty and puts the U.S. in step with
the nations of the Americas and the rest of the world.
"If President Bush
cannot answer the call to history that has been issued in Havana,
perhaps his successor will respond with greater imagination when
he or she takes office in Washington next year.
"People here should
not misunderstand this historic moment: the Cubans we know, even
determined political opponents of Fidel Castro, are proud of their
country, proud of its accomplishments, and persuaded that only Cubans
in Cuba - not politicians in Washington or hardliners in Miami -
have the right and responsibility to determine their own destiny.
We owe them that opportunity, now more than ever."
The Center for Democracy
in the Americas (CDA) is devoted to changing U.S. policy toward
the countries of the Americas by basing our relations on mutual
respect, recognizing positive models of governance in the region,
and fostering dialogue particularly with those governments and movements
with which U.S. policy is at odds.
Over the last seven years,
our Cuba program has organized trips to Cuba for thirty-one Members
of the U.S. House and Senate, and for staff delegations from seventeen
Congressional offices. We have met with President Fidel Castro on
The Center's website
Source: The Center
for Democracy in the Americas
Pelosi Statement on Resignation
of Fidel Castro
Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today in response
to the resignation of Cuban President Fidel Castro:
of Fidel Castro is a reason to hope that freedom is closer than
it was when he was the public face of an oppressive regime, but
is not a guarantee of a democratic future for the people of Cuba.
"As Cubans at home
and those living abroad continue their efforts to create a true
democracy in their nation, all of us in the international community
should continue to encourage the aspiration of the Cuban people
for liberty - the fulfillment of which is long overdue."
Source: Office of
the Speaker of the House
Blunt on Castro Resignation
WASHINGTON -- House
Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) made the following statement today
in response to Fidel Castro's announcement that he will voluntarily
relinquish control of Cuba's presidency:
"America has long
been one of the leading advocates for a free and democratic Cuba.
Toward that end, Fidel Castro's announced resignation is more than
welcome news to Cubans here, there and abroad -- no matter how small,
it represents a crucial loosening of Castro's unyielding grip on
"While today's events
seem to do little more than pave the way for Castro's brother, Raul,
to become the new titular leader of Cuba, it is my sincere hope
that this transition provides the momentum for larger democratic
"Cubans have lived
under the oppression of Castro's communist regime for far too long.
While it remains to be seen if this change will help bring about
a free and democratic future for the country's 11 million people,
we must remain vigilant and determined in our efforts to support
Source: House Republican
Whip Roy Blunt
Foreign Secretary on
LONDON -- This
morning I learned that President Fidel Castro does not intend to
accept another term as president of Cuba. It is 49 years since the
1959 Revolution, and no-one can doubt the historic role Fidel Castro
has played in Cuba's recent history. The Cuban people will now be
looking to the future, a future which we hope will offer them political
progress founded on democracy and human rights, and continued progress
based on social justice and individual need. Like the rest of the
EU, the UK is looking forward to productive relations which will
bring benefits to both of our nations.
Source: Foreign and