Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Governor Richardson responds to Bush on Cuba

Granma International

Havana. October 24, 2007

By Gabriel Molina

BILL Richardson, governor of the U.S. state of New Mexico, responding on Wednesday to President George W. Bush’s statements on Cuba earlier in the day, said that the U.S. embargo of the island had failed.

Richardson, who is in the race to become the Democratic Party presidential candidate, told the CNN network that if he were to become president, he would get rid of the measures adopted by Bush for strengthening the so-called embargo. He added that, with the purpose of creating a transition, he would remove the restrictions on travel to the island and would encourage trade in order to open up a dialogue with the Cuban government, because the punitive measures of more than 40 years have failed.

Another Democratic contender, Democrat Chris Dodd, who supports easing travel restrictions, said Bush "continues to allow his fixation with the Castro brothers to stand in the way of a sensible policy with respect to Cuba. Nearly 50 years of a failed Cuba policy must end."

President George W. Bush says he is seeking change in Cuba and asking other countries to help by offering money and political capital. In a speech at the U.S. State Department dedicated exclusively to the subject of Cuba, the leader of the powerful northern country indirectly showed concern regarding recent successful initiatives of the Cuban government. These include the thousands of Latin American young people who are studying there on scholarship and have graduated from the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), as well as the brigades of Cuban doctors who are bringing medical attention for free to low-income people in the most neglected areas of the Third World, the now-famous "Army of White Coats."

During his speech, apparently aimed at his followers in Miami and Latin America, Bush, who has offered Cuban doctors encouragement to desert those contingents, proposed creating an "international fund" to someday "help to rebuild the country"; to give U.S. licenses for private groups to provide Internet access to Cuban students, and to invite Cuban young people to study under a scholarship program.

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