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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 July 2006, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Cuba concern over US Castro plans
By Emilio San Pedro
BBC News

Fidel Castro at a literacy conference on 9 June
Castro will celebrate his 80th birthday in August
A senior Cuban official has sharply criticised a US report on the future of Cuba after Fidel Castro leaves office.

A draft of the report calls for a "democracy fund" to boost opposition to Cuba's communist government.

The report is being issued by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, created by President George W Bush in 2003.

Cuba's government has had notoriously bad relations with Washington for well over 45 years.

For the government, the fact that the US would plan for the day when Fidel Castro's time in power ends should come as no surprise.

However, the president of the Cuban parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, feels there is cause for anger and even concern.

Mr Alarcon describes the report as nothing short of an aberration which should be read as an act of war, as it publicly contemplates how to bring the government of a sovereign foreign nation to an end.

Speculation ongoing

A draft version of the report by the commission, a final version of which is due out next week, calls on President Bush to create an $80m pro-democracy fund to boost support for political opponents of the island's communist government.

It also says that Cuba, along with its political ally Venezuela, is a threat to political and democratic stability in Latin America.

And it says President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has been subverting democracy in Cuba by giving money and financial assistance to the Cuban government.

One thing is certain: speculation on what will happen in Cuba when President Castro dies or is no longer capable of governing the country has been on the increase in recent months, and not only in Washington.

The Cuban leader, who has been in power since 1959, turns 80 in August.





SEE ALSO
Cuba sacks top government member
28 Apr 06 |  Americas
Leftist trio seals Americas pact
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Castro marks Bay of Pigs victory
20 Apr 06 |  Americas
Castro slams 'mad' US change plan
23 Dec 05 |  Americas
US withdraws relief offer to Cuba
03 Nov 05 |  Americas
Black flags block US sign in Cuba
07 Feb 06 |  Americas
New post to help Castro 'demise'
28 Jul 05 |  Americas
Country profile: Cuba
26 Oct 05 |  Country profiles

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