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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 24, 2007
Fact Sheet: Encouraging Freedom, Justice, and Prosperity in Cuba
President Bush Announces A Series Of Measures To Support Growing Democratic Movements In Cuba
Today, President Bush announced measures to help prepare Cuba for transition to a democratic future, including a new initiative to develop an international multi-billion dollar Freedom Fund. Before his speech, the President met with family members of political prisoners in Cuba. The President believes that now is the time to stand with the Cuban people as they stand up for their liberty. The world should put aside its differences and prepare for Cuba's transition to a future of progress and promise.
The President reiterates U.S. Government policy that the embargo on the Cuban regime must stand as long as the regime maintains its monopoly over the political and economic life of the Cuban people. Trade with Cuba under the current regime would merely enrich the elites in power and strengthen their grip. Congress should show their support and solidarity for fundamental change in Cuba by maintaining our embargo on the dictatorship until that change comes.
The Free World Can Do Much More To Show Its Solidarity With The Cuban People
The United States stands with the Cuban people in their suffering. We have granted asylum to hundreds of thousands who have fled the repression and misery imposed by the regime, rallied nations to take up the banner of Cuban liberty, and authorized private citizens and organizations to provide food, medicine, and other aid. This aid totaled over $270 million last year alone.
The President thanked members of Congress for their bipartisan support in a vote for additional funding for Cuban democracy efforts and asked them to complete work on the measure, so that he may quickly sign it into law.
President Bush also calls on other nations to make tangible efforts to show public support for dissidents in Cuba. The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland have shown their leadership and courage by becoming vital sources of support and encouragement to Cuba's brave democratic opposition. The President encourages other nations to follow their lead by:
The United States Is Committed To Helping Cuba Join The Democracies of the World
The policy of the United States is clear: to break the absolute control the regime holds over the material resources that Cubans need to live and prosper. The Cuban people are denied the most basic freedoms and opportunities freedoms that are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and which governments in our hemisphere have agreed to honor and defend in the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
Throughout the Western Hemisphere, the United States has established itself as a reliable partner that has worked to strengthen the sovereignty of our neighbors by supporting human rights, democracy, and the rule of law and by promoting open markets.
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