Bush will not ease sanctions on Cuba

Other News Materials 8 May 2008 05:17 (UTC +04:00)

US President George W Bush said Wednesday the United States will not ease sanctions on Cuba until the communist island's leadership enacts real reforms that will lead to democracy, the dpa reported.

The Cuban government's recent easing of restrictions to allow the population greater access to technology like mobile phones and computers amounted to "empty gestures" average Cubans cannot afford, Bush said.

"Until there's a change of heart and a change of compassion and a change of how the Cuban government treats its people, there's no change at all," Bush said at told the Council of the Americas, a group that advocates building democracy and free markets in Latin America.

"The regime has made empty gestures at reform, but Cuba's still ruled by the same group that has oppressed the Cuban people for almost half a century," Bush added.

Bush dismissed notions that the transfer of the presidency from Fidel Castro to his brother Raul would bring sweeping change to Cuba.

"Some in the world marveled that perhaps change is on its way. That's not how I view it," Bush said.

Bush addressed the council one day after holding a video- teleconference from the White House with Cuban dissidents at the US interest section in Havana.