Bush Takes Time Out for Cuba
President Bush took time out on May 20 to extend greetings to the people of Cuba. On this date in 1902, the United States officially granted the island limited autonomy after taking control from Spain four years earlier.
“The United States remains committed to extending the full blessings of liberty around the world,” said Bush in a barely veiled reference to his administration’s efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The President chooses to ignore the fact that most Cubans on the island consider 1959 the date of their true independence. Instead, Bush prefers the relationship that preceded the Cuban revolution and provided for US military occupations and treaties favorable to US interests.
During this period, Washington took possession of Guantanamo Bay and 117 sq. kilometers of prize coastline, building its oldest standing overseas naval base that now doubles as a prison camp.
While the subservient pre-revolution governments didn’t seem to mind the US occupation, ever since 1959 Cuba has demanded that Washington leave its territory.
HELPING CUBA RETURN TO “FREEDOM”
“We stand united with freedom-loving people of all nations in the conviction that Cuba’s future must be one of dignity, liberty and opportunity,” said President Bush in his annual message Sunday to Cuban American organizations based in Miami that have been big donors to him and his party.
To further that aim, the State Department has published a nearly 500-page “Plan for Assistance to a Free Cuba”, to topple the government of Fidel Castro and bring the island back into the US fold.
Washington also maintains a travel ban on US citizens wanting to visit the island as part of a nearly half-century blockade that stifles trade and people-to-people exchange.
The latest victim of the travel ban was filmmaker Michael Moore, under threat of a six-figure fine and a stiff jail sentence for having come to Havana to get some footage for his film “Sicko”, about health care in the United States.
“Laura and I send our best wishes. May God bless the people of Cuba,” concluded Bush.