Bush wants a violent transition in Cuba say experts

Campaign News | Thursday, 9 September 2004

Strategy is ‘terrifying’ says former Assistant Secretary of State

Washington and New York, 8 September: The new US policy towards Cuba, launched in May, has increased the likelihood of generating violence and social upheaval in Cuba and has nurtured speculation that Washington is preparing a military intervention, says a former high official of the State Department and a number of distinguished experts in an open letter delivered to the US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

One of the signatories of the letter, William D. Rogers, a former Assistant Secretary of State, says although he does not believe that the US would invade the island, the recommendations included in the 440 page report of the Commission to Assist a Free Cuba presented to the White House in May, are “terrifying.”

For this reason Rogers put his name to the letter alongside the former vice-president of the World Bank Shahid Javed Burki, Harvard Professor Jorge Domínguez, and Peter Hakim, the president of the think-tank Inter-American Dialogue, among others.

The letter criticises the recommendations and calls for a rethink on Cuba policy in Washington

In the text formulated and distributed by the Inter American Dialogue the writers point out that neither Colin Powell nor President Bush when presenting the new US policy in May made any reference to a ‘peaceful transition to democracy’ in Cuba.

The White House document says that a central objective is “to bring to an end the ruthless and brutal dictatorship of Fidel Castro” but does not include any reference to a ‘peaceful transition’ - something that has hitherto been reiterated by successive administrations.

The letter reads:

“We are most troubled by the report’s ambivalence about the commitment of the U.S. government to peaceful change in Cuba. U.S. policy towards Cuba has long been controversial and even divisive but there had been wide agreement that the central goal was a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba. Abandoning that commitment would represent a dramatic and unfortunate change in U.S. policy.”

The letter was apparently sent to Colin Powell on 12 August but was only made public on Wednesday, 8 September.

The White House says that the Secretary of State has replied but declined to make the contents of the letter public.

The release of the letter came just a day after the speaker of the Cuban parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, told reporters in Havana that the Cuban government believed that the administration had not ruled out an invasion of the island.

Havana has insisted that the Bush administration is planning to invade and Fidel Castro has accused George Bush of plotting to assassinate him.

The authors of the letter fall far short of such accusations but their message does affirm the Cuban government’s conviction that the prelude to any intervention by the US would involve civil unrest in Cuba to provide the pretext to invade.

“Several of the report’s recommendations might well increase the risk of violence and social unrest in Cuba,” says the letter.

To read the letter in full download the pdf at:


Threat of US aggression against Cuba is real, says Cuban leader

In an interview with the Cuban press agency Prensa Latina, the president of Cuba's parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, has reiterated the Cuban government's fear that the US might invade the island.

Mr Alarcon rejected the notion that the Bush regime had denied such a possibility in July after the Cuban parliament accused them of plotting the invasion.

"I wouldn"t say the US authorities have denied it. There has been a brief statement by US Interest Section chief in Havana, James Cason, but he is a fourth-class bureaucrat," said Mr Alarcon.

The Cuban leader said it was no surprise for Cason to say that because he is in Cuba with the mission of deceiving and subverting, but his words cannot come above that of Secretary of State Colin Powell, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld or US President George W. Bush.

"In the text we unanimously approved in the Assembly, we recalled Powell"s remarks, I mean General Powell"s remarks, not "Corporal" Cason"s", Alarcon stressed.

He recalled that Powell"s answer to the question why military force is not used against Cuba, as it was used in Iraq, was not that military force should not be used, but that the US should not always turn to it hastily as there are other means, including political and economic pressure and subversion.

"So he left open the possibility of attacking Cuba militarily", Alarcon said.

He also recalled what President Bush said when he created a commission to draft a plan for a so-called Cuban transition - meaning the process that will start the day Cuban President Fidel Castro is gone - "we are not just talking, but working, acting to get that, and we have to do it in a quick, aggressive manner," Bush said then.

No US government has ever been more explicit in developing and revealing its designs for intervention, Alarcon concluded.


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