CSC Press Release: Blair urged to distance himself from Bush aggression
Campaign News | Sunday, 9 July 2006
Bush adopts new Cuba regime change plan
London 09 July: Tony Blair is being urged to state publicly that the UK disagrees with the Bush administration’s new stance on Cuba accepted today by President Bush.
“The UK’s interests are best served by peace and stability in the Caribbean, not war and confrontation. But the way things are going that is what is going to happen,” says the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, a nationwide organisation of MPs, trade unions and interested individuals which lobbies for an end to the US economic blockade of the Caribbean island.
Ian Gibson MP, Chair of the All Party Group on Cuba, voiced the concerns of many people here in the UK: “Apart from being a clear breach of the UN Charter, it is a course of action that will be rejected by the vast majority of Cubans. The outcome will almost certainly be conflict in the island. Such an event would destroy peace and stability in the Caribbean and will severely affect the interests of European powers with interests there. Cuba poses no threat to any other nation and its right to self determination should be protected.”
The comments are in response to a new US report published today that says the United States is to begin preparations to intervene in Cuba in the event of President Fidel Castro's death. The report's release is certain to further aggravate existing tensions between the two nations.
Cuba Solidarity Campaign Director, Rob Miller, says the consequence of the policy could be war: “The stated goal of the US report is to help what it calls a ‘speedy transition’ on the island towards ‘democracy and political freedom’ but this is just Bushspeak. What the US is planning is regime change - by military occupation if necessary. Britain should distance itself immediately from this dangerous madness”
The recommendations, which include the creation of an $80m (£43m) fund to “promote democracy” in Cuba, are contained in the latest report compiled by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba; a body created by President George Bush three years ago. A classified annex to the document lists future measures the US should consider further to undermine the Cuban government.
The group is co-chaired by the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and by the US Commerce Secretary, Carlos Gutierrez, a hard-line Cuban-American émigré. The report was compiled by other well-known anti-Castro Cuban émigrés, and as such reflects an extreme position on policy towards the island aimed at assuaging the powerful Florida-based anti-Castro lobby.
The president of the Cuban parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, has condemned the report, describing it as an act of war. "What's most important is that they admit to a secret plan to overthrow another government," Mr Alarcon told reporters. "What on earth could the secret part say when the public part violates all kinds of international law?"
Media speculation as to the future of Cuba has been building recently as President Castro approaches his 80th birthday on August 13. There is no evidence of the Cuban leader suffering from ill health. ENDS
Notes to editors:
1. Cuba Transition Coordinator Caleb McCarry will give a brief on Friday, July 7, 2006 at 12 noon (US time) in the Press Briefing Room at the U.S. Department of State on the release of the second report of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba and the Compact with the Cuban People. The Report and the Compact were presented to the President earlier this week. A briefing on Caleb McCarry and his recent visit to Britain is attached.
2. 197 MPs from across the parties have currently signed Early Day Motion 1959 in the British Parliament on the "EU Common Position on Cuba." The motion "calls on the United Kingdom Government to maintain and develop its independent approach of positive engagement towards Cuba." The full text of the motion, proposed by Ian Gibson MP, and a full list of signatures can be found at http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=30440&SESSION=875
3 The Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) is a non-party-political campaign that works in the UK to raise awareness of the illegal US blockade of Cuba, and defend the Cuban people’s right to self-determination. Its patrons include Harold Pinter, Ken Livingstone and Tony Benn. Its website can be found at www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk
Contact: Matt Willgress 0207 263 6452, Rob Miller 07930 693900 or firstname.lastname@example.org