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US just won't BUDGE on cuba

By unknown | Feb 20, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

There is little indication that Cuban leader Fidel Castro's resignation as president yesterday and his formal departure from power will change US policy toward the Caribbean island just off its Florida coast.

In October the White House signalled it would not hold discussions with either Castro or his brother Raul, who has run the communist country since July 2006.

US President George W Bush has kept up steady pressure on the leader, laying the groundwork for his departure, tightening the economic screws on the island, and making emergency preparations for a sudden influx of emigres to the United States in the event of his death.

In October, Bush said Castro's regime was in its "dying gasps" and announced new initiatives aimed at easing a democratic and economic transition in the communist country.

Washington would not lift the 44-year-long embargo on Cuba Bush said, adding: "America will have no part in giving oxygen to a criminal regime victimising its own people."

An initiative to raise billions of dollars for the so-called "freedom fund" to help the Cuban economy once the regime is gone was likely to fall on deaf ears, analysts said.

That's because many countries are already engaging Cuba without taking the hardline US approach. - Sapa-DPA


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