Friday, January 09, 2004

Cuba seethes, Powell lets it rip

Cuba is upset that the US has expelled one of its "diplomats". Meanwhile, Secretary of State Powell says that Castro's government "continues to oppress its people, which continues to deny its people a better life and, given the opportunity, will stir things up. That has been his history. That has been his tradition for all these many years."

The Cuban government accused the Bush administration Thursday of election-year pandering to strident Cuban exiles for its "unjustified" expulsion of a Washington-based diplomat and suspension of immigration talks that were the last high-level contact between the countries.

Havana's reaction drew harsh words from Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who repeated claims circulated anonymously by U.S. officials this week that Cuban President Fidel Castro had been fomenting anti-U.S. sentiment in Latin America.

[...]

At a news conference in Washington, Powell defended the administration's recent remarks about Cuba, saying the Castro regime persists in trying to destabilize Latin America.

"Fortunately, [such efforts] turned out to be massive failures for the most part," Powell said, adding that 34 of the 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere are democracies.

"No juntas running anything — except for one place, and that's Cuba, which continues to oppress its people, which continues to deny its people a better life and, given the opportunity, will stir things up. That has been his history. That has been his tradition for all these many years," Powell said of Castro.


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