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<< News >>

International News / National News

Tuesday, 19 February, 2008 6:56 PM

Fidel Castro Steps Down After Almost 50 Years in Power

WASHINGTON -- 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 eight occasions.

The Center's website is: www.democracyinamericas.org.

Source: The Center for Democracy in the Americas

 

Pelosi Statement on Resignation of Fidel Castro

WASHINGTON -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today in response to the resignation of Cuban President Fidel Castro:

"The resignation 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 power.

"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 reforms.

"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 that freedom."

Source: House Republican Whip Roy Blunt

 

Foreign Secretary on Cuba

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 Commonwealth Office

 

 

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