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Venezuela warns U.S. that
Responding to US President George W. Bush's threats towards Cuba on Wednesday, Venezuelan authorities warned yesterday that "Cuba is not alone." The US president called on the international community to prepare for a "transition" in Cuba and vowed to maintain the embargo of the island. Both Venezuelan and Cuban authorities rejected the statements, labeling them "imperialist aggression."

"He spoke like an imperialist and a colonialist," said Venezuelan parliamentarian Saul Ortega about Bush's statements. Ortega assured that the reaction to these threats will be increased unity among the people of Latin America. "In response we have to close ranks in defense of the principles of sovereignty and self-determination," he said.

Vice-foreign minister Rodolfo Sanz assured that the United States was making a mistake with their statements towards Cuba and maintained that the "times have changed."

"We aren't going to sit here with our arms crossed before some diabolic adventure," he said. Sanz assured that the Cuban people can count on support from nations like Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, among others, stating that "Cuba is not alone."

President Bush made the comments in a speech on Wednesday at the US State Department in Washington. In the presence of Cuban dissidents and their families, the president vowed to continue the 45-year economic embargo against the country and asked the "international community" to support a "democratic movement" in the country.

"Now is the time for the world to put aside its differences and prepare for Cuba's transition to a future of freedom and progress and promise," he said.

In addition, he proposed the establishment of a "Freedom Fund" to help facilitate change on the island, and said his administration would be asking other countries to contribute. He also called on other countries to support Cuban dissidents inside the country and made a clear effort to rally anti-Castro sentiment.

"To ordinary Cubans who are listening: You have the power to shape your destiny," he said. "You can bring about a future where your leaders answer to you."

To the Cuban military Bush said, "Will you defend a disgraced and dying order by using force against your own people?"

Cuban Foreign Minister Perez Roque condemned the statement, calling it "an invocation to violence to bring down the Cuban revolution," and demanded that Washington stop intervening in the internal affairs of the country.

"The United States must stop obnoxiously interfering in the internal affairs of Cuba, they must stop building an opposition against Cuba, and they must stop financing mercenaries," said the Cuban minister in a live broadcast on Wednesday.

After Bush's speech on Wednesday, Caleb McCarry, the Bush Administration's 'Cuba Transition Coordinator,' accused Venezuela of supporting the communist system in Cuba, and asked all countries on the continent to unite in support of a "transition" in Cuba.

"The support of the Venezuelan government for the Cuban government has the purpose of continuing the communist system in Cuba," he said. "It is important that all the countries on the continent support the Cubans in their own process of transition to democracy."

But Venezuelan government officials rejected the declarations from Washington, and showed their solidarity with the Cuban Revolution. Governor of the state of Anzoategui Tarek William Saab considered the statements a declaration of war.

"As revolutionaries, brothers, and friends of the Cuban Revolution, we reject these statements from a decadent president who will go out the back door of history against a dignified country like the Republic of Cuba," he said.

Venezuelan Parliamentarian Saul Ortega assured that Latin America would continue to resist US "imperialism."

"It is against this that the popular struggles of Latin America and the Caribbean are fighting, to break away from being the backyard of the empire's big multinationals," he said.

Source: by Chris Carlson,

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