Bush says Castro rule near end, urges 'free' polls in Cuba
Yahoo! News. By Ben Feller, Associated Press Writer Tue Sep 25.
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 25 (AFP) - US President George W. Bush, in a speech to the UN General Assembly here Tuesday, called for "free and competitive elections" in Cuba, saying the long rule of ailing President Fidel Castro "is nearing its end."
"In Cuba, the long rule of a cruel dictator is nearing its end," he told world leaders gathered here, in a reference to Castro.
"The Cuban people are ready for their freedom," he added, stressing as the communist-rule island enters a period of transition, "The United Nations must insist on free speech, free assembly and ultimately free and competitive elections."
As Bush uttered those words, the Cuban delegation led by Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque walked out in protest.
The United States and Cuba do not have full diplomatic relations.
Washington has a trade embargo on Havana that it clamped 45 years ago following the Bay of Pigs invasion, an abortive US-backed bid by Cuban exiles to topple the Castro regime.