Bush calls for change in Cuba

US president says Fidel Castro's government is a "disgraced and dying order".

    An ailing Castro has handed over power
    to his brother Raul [AP]

    Bush rejected any easing up of the US sanctions without a full transition to democracy and said doing so would only bolster the communist government's grip on power.

    Castro, 81, has not been seen in public in 15 months because of an undisclosed intestinal illness.
     
    Many analysts believe that a stable transfer of power has already taken place and that Raul Castro will remain in charge of Cuba's government when Fidel dies.

    But Bush, reinforcing the administration's hardline policy towards Havana, said such a transition amounted to merely "exchanging one dictator for another".
     
    Direct appeal

    "America will have no part in giving oxygen to a criminal regime victimising its own people," Bush said in a speech at the state department on Wednesday, where he appeared with family members of Cuban dissidents.

    "We will not support the old way with new faces, the old system held together by new chains.

    "You have the power to shape your own destiny."

    But he also made a direct appeal to the Cuban military and security forces not to stand in the way if citizens push for democratic change.

    "When Cubans rise up to demand their liberty, the liberty they deserve, you've got to make a choice: Will you defend a disgraced and dying order by using force against your own people, or will you embrace your people's desire for change?"

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.