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Globalization - Countries - Cuba

Castro Rejects Bush Democracy Ideas
By The Associated Press/New York Times 6/1/2002

HOLGUIN, Cuba (AP) -- In a blistering speech before hundreds of thousands of people in a drenching rain Saturday, President Fidel Castro said the democracy President Bush wants to see in Cuba would be a corrupt and unfair system that ignores the poor.

``For Mr. W, democracy only exists where money solves everything and where those who can afford a $25,000-a-plate dinner -- an insult to the billions of people living in the poor, hungry and underdeveloped world -- are the ones called to solve the problems of society and the world,'' Castro said in his continuing attack on Bush's hard line policies toward the island.

``Don't be a fool, Mr. W,'' Castro said. ``Show some respect for the minds of people who are capable of thinking...Show some respect for others and for yourself.''

Castro's early morning address is part of Cuba's answer to Bush's May 20 speeches in Washington and Miami, promising trade sanctions against Cuba would not be lifted until all political prisoners are freed, independently monitored elections are allowed and a series of other conditions are accepted for a ``new government that is fully democratic.''

A week ago, Castro made a similar speech answering Bush's declarations, telling the American people that they should never fear an attack by Cuba and can always count on this communist country's support in the war against terrorism.

Saturday's speech in this eastern provincial capital 500 miles east of Havana was aimed directly at Bush.

``None of our leaders is a millionaire like the President of the United States, whose monthly wage is almost twice that of all the members of the (Cuban) Council of State and the Council of Ministers in a year,'' Castro told several hundred thousand people from across rural Holguin province and neighboring Las Tunas and Granma provinces.

``None can be included in the long list of Mr. W's neo-liberal friends in Latin America who are Olympic champions of misappropriation and theft since the few who do not steal from the public coffers and state taxes steal from the poor and the hungry,'' he said.

``The criminal blockade he has promised to tighten will only multiply the honor and glory of our people,'' Castro declared of Bush's stated intention to not only maintain but tighten U.S. restrictions on trade and travel with Cuba.

Castro contrasted Bush with the late American President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

``It was a long time ago when a man spoke from his wheelchair with a soft voice and a persuasive accent. He spoke as a president of the United States of America and he inspired respect ... He did not speak like a showoff or a thug,'' Castro said.


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