Bush calls Cuba’s recent reforms a ‘cruel joke’

May 22nd, 2008 - 12:18 am ICT by admin  

Washington, May 21 (DPA) Reforms recently introduced by the Cuban government to allow greater access to technology must be accompanied by real democratic and economic change to improve the life on the communist island, US President George W. Bush said Wednesday. Marking a “day of solidarity” with the Cuban people, Bush highlighted the plight of dissidents locked up in jails for their political views and the economic despair endured by Cubans under the rule of Fidel and Raul Castro.

“It’s a day of sorrow as we reflect on the continued oppression of the Cuban people,” Bush said.

Since formally taking power in January from his ailing brother, Raul Castro has lifted restrictions on access to technologies like computer and cell phones, as well as foreign appliances.

The Bush administration has dismissed the changes, saying they will do little to improve political life and that most Cubans cannot afford to purchase the items. Bush called the reforms a “cruel joke perpetuated on a long suffering people”.

Bush announced he would ease restrictions to permit exiled Cubans in the US to send cell phones to their relatives to test whether Castro is willing to allow the technology to reach the hands of the people.

“Allow these phones to reach the Cuban people,” Bush said in comments directed as Castro.

“The United States is reaching out to the Cuban people yet we know that life will not change for the Cubans until their government changes,” Bush said.

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