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In their own words ...

"I was only disappointed by one thing about the debate tonight: there was not one question on Cuba. Let me tell you my question: Cuba libre! Quatro mas anos! I've got a plan to spread freedom, not only in the greater Middle East, but in our own hemisphere, in places like Cuba."

--President Bush, in comments to supporters following his Sep. 30 debate with Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry at the University of Miami.

"He's been saying exactly what we want to hear--words like freedom, democracy, liberty. But he hasn't done anything to bring this about in Cuba."

--Joe Garcia, former executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, deriding President Bush at a Miami rally for Sen. Kerry.

"We commend Republicans for withstanding strong-arm tactics from the White House in pressuring them to vote against easing the travel ban just six weeks before the presidential elections."

--Rachel Farley of the Washington Office on Latin America, reacting to a House bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Davis (D-FL) to ease strict travel regulations against Cuba imposed Jun. 30 by President Bush. The bill passed by a vote of 225-174.

"By voting to reverse cruel new restrictions on Cuban-Americans traveling to Cuba to visit family members, representatives voted in favor of family unity and family rights."

--Mavis Anderson of the Latin America Working Group, reacting to same bill.

"We're not saying with absolute certainty that they don't [have a biological weapons program]. What we're saying is that we've lost some confidence in that judgement, that they do ... When I see this thing characterized as a reversal, that is incorrect."

--Unidentified U.S. official, telling the Miami Herald that the intelligence community has revised its assessment of Cuba's biological weapons capabilities in the wake of the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"The exaggeration of the Cuba threat is another example of a White House that is willing to shape intelligence and amplify fear to advance ideological agendas. Cynical distortion is its own destructive weapon."

--Sep. 22 editorial in the Palm Beach Post.

"What they're asking for is to be granted political asylum in the United States, or for the U.S. to expedite political asylum, or for the minimum a third country, but to not keep them in Guantanamo any longer because that violates international law and because their stay there is unbearable."

--William Sanchez, an attorney for Luis Grass Rodriguez, one of 13 Cuban refugees who tried to escape to Florida aboard a boat made from a 1959 Buick. The Cubans have begun a hunger strike to protest their legal limbo.

"Family is the center of who we Cubans are. You could be my best friend, but come between me and my family and there's no choice there for me. It's over. I'll push you out of the way. Because blood is thicker than politics."

--Miami resident Jorge Mursuli, telling the Los Angeles Times he won't vote for Bush out of anger that he can no longer visit his aging aunt in Cuba every year.

"We rely on the nobility and the sense of justice of the American people. We don't hold them accountable for our suffering. We believe that, just like us, they have fallen victims to a policy that has been designed to serve the interests of a small minority."

--Felipe Perez Roque, Cuba's foreign minister, in a Sep. 23 interview in New York with Edith M. Lederer of the Associated Press.

"They can't even make an issue out of George W. Bush keeping Cuban-Americans from seeing their relatives in Cuba."

--Presidential candidate Ralph Nader, chiding the Democratic Party during a campaign appearance Sep. 28 at the University of Miami.
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Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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