Bush to reinforce Cuba embargo policy
President Bush was scheduled to give a major policy speech on Cuba this afternoon in which he will stress his belief the United States needs to continue its trade restrictions against Cuba.
According to transcripts of a White House briefing on the issue conducted Tuesday evening, Bush will 'urge members of Congress to show support and solidarity for fundamental change in Cuba by maintaining our embargo until there is fundamental change in Cuba.'
A senior administration official said the address will be aimed at members of Congress and the international diplomatic corps, commenting, 'This is not to a Miami audience.'
The official went on to say that the president would try to make the point 'that if you trade or engage in activity and economic activity in Cuba today, your partner is the regime; and to remind the listeners that, one, U.S. policy is premised on getting assistance and support directly to the people, not bolstering this repressive apparatus that is the Castro regime. And it is just a reminder that part of our support and solidarity with the Cuban people is this continuing effort to deny resources to the dictatorship.'
Current trade with Cuba is limited to agricultural products, including U.S.-harvested lumber, and some medical supplies.
Bush was scheduled to deliver the speech at the State Department in Washington. The speech was to be followed by a question and answer session on Cuba trade policy conducted by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.