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10 October 2003

White House Outlines New Initiatives on Cuba

Restrictions on American travel to the island to be tightened

President Bush October 10 announced three initiatives he said would promote the cause of freedom in Cuba, including a tightening of restrictions on American travel to the island.

Following is the text of the fact sheet:

(begin fact sheet)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
October 10, 2003

FACT SHEET

"In all that lies ahead, the Cuban people will have a constant friend in the United States of America. No tyrant can stand forever against the power of liberty -- because the hope of freedom is found in every heart."
-- President George W. Bush, October 10, 2003

Today the President announced three initiatives intended to assist the Cuban people in their struggle for freedom and to prepare the U.S. government for the emergence of a free and democratic Cuba.

The President also underscored his commitment to breaking the information blockade imposed on the Cuban people by the regime. He noted recent developments, such as satellite transmissions, that are helping to bring more broadcasts to more Cuban households.

Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba

-- Commission is co-chaired by Secretaries Powell and Martinez and comprised of U.S. executive branch agency representatives.

-- Commission will help prepare the U.S. government to provide effective assistance to a free Cuba.

-- The Commission will consider the elements of a comprehensive program to assist the Cuban people to establish democracy and the rule of law, create the core institutions of free enterprise, modernize infrastructure, and provide health, housing, and human services.

Greater Enforcement of Travel Restrictions

-- Greater enforcement of travel restrictions will make more certain that permitted travel for Americans (like family visits, humanitarian aid, research) is not abused and used as cover for illegal business travel, to skirt restrictions on carrying cash into Cuba, or tourism.

-- Violations of restrictions serve only to funnel funds to the dictator and his repressive regime.

-- Enforcement agencies will increase inspections of travelers and shipments to and from Cuba and target those who illegally travel to Cuba via third countries or on private vessels.

Immigration

-- Improving our ability to identify and protect those who face persecution in Cuba and provide them the opportunity to come to the United States safely.

-- Goal is to see that no Cuban finds it necessary to risk his or her life on the high seas to come to the United States.

-- Will increase the number of new migrants admitted from Cuba through a safe, legal, and orderly process.

-- Will undertake a public diplomacy campaign in the U.S. and Cuba to better inform Cubans about safe and legal migration options.

(end fact sheet)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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