Larry Burns on Miami Herald report on new groups working to monitor Cuba

09/13/06

The Miami Herald reported today that the Bush Administration – convinced that Fidel Castro will never regain power- has created 5 interagency working groups to monitor Cuba, and carry out U.S. policies.

The Herald reports that U.S. officials have told them that the groups were set up after the July 31st Announcement that Castro had temporarily ceded power to a collective leadership headed by his brother, Raul.

Officials portrayed the working groups as logical outcomes of the Commission on Assistance to a Free Cuba, an interagency Cabinet-level effort that has been convened twice to draft policy recommendations. The second commission report, co-chaired by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, was issued in July, just weeks before Castro underwent surgery for intestinal bleeding caused by a still undisclosed ailment.

According to the Herald, the plan includes more aid to Castro opponents, a diplomatic campaign to offset Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s alleged efforts to prolong communism in Cuba, and stricter enforcement of existing sanctions.

Larry Burns is the director of the Washington based Council on Hemispheric Relations. He told WMNF that that list sounds like more of what the Bush administration has already been doing with Cuba (roll tape#1 o.q.�to do so�)

That’s Larry Burns with the Council on Hemispheric Relations, talking to WMNF today about a new U.S. plan to deal with a post Fidel Castro Cuba.

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