Bush offers oddly timed attack on Castros
President George W. Bush issued a stern warning Wednesday that the United States will not accept a political transition in Cuba in which power merely shifts from one Castro brother to another rather than to the Cuban people.
"Life will not improve for Cubans under their current system of government," he said. "It will not improve by exchanging one dictator for another. It will not improve if we seek accommodation with a new tyranny in the interests of stability."
But Cuba specialists said the president's warning seemed oddly timed and his analysis outdated, part of a policy with dwindling domestic support that is meant to isolate Cuba but that increasingly leaves the United States as the international odd man out.
Bush's remarks at the State Department constituted an unbending response to the political changes that began in Cuba more than a year ago, when Fidel Castro, 81, underwent surgery and handed power to his brother, Raúl, 76.
While administration officials said Bush's speech was aimed at the Cuban people, and could be heard on the radio there, it appeared equally directed at the Cuban-Americans who form a powerful Republican voting bloc in Florida, and more broadly at U.S. conservatives, for whom fervent opposition to Fidel Castro is an article of faith.