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Rice Appoints Transition Coordinator to Cuba *LINK*

Says Caleb McCarry will help bring democratic change to island

The appointment of Caleb McCarry to lead the U.S. Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba will facilitate and hasten Cuba's eventual transition to democratic governance, says Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In July 28 remarks at the State Department, Rice recalled that President Bush created the commission to "accelerate the demise" of tyranny on the island nation. Cuba has been ruled for decades by dictator Fidel Castro.

With $59 million in funding, the commission is "empowering Cuban civil society to better organize and advocate for democratic change," Rice said. "To direct our government's actions in support of a free Cuba, I am appointing Caleb McCarry to serve as our Cuba transition coordinator."

The new coordinator "brings to this job a lifetime of experience and expertise in Latin American affairs," she added. "With Caleb's help and the help of others in this room, the United States is going to hasten the coming of the day when a free Cuba is no longer a dream, but a reality."

And because the promotion of liberty is a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy, "we will not rest until this hemisphere is the best example of a hemisphere united in freedom and democracy," Rice said.

For his part, McCarry thanked Rice for entrusting him with "this opportunity to serve our country and the cause of freedom." He described the commission's report on conditions in Cuba as "an intelligent, generous and above all respectful offer of support to the Cuban people" and also as "a comprehensive statement of what the United States is prepared to do to help the Cuban people secure the liberty and prosperity that are their right."

The commission has a valuable role to play, he said, because "for 46 years, the [Castro] dictatorship has willfully and cruelly divided the Cuban family" into two camps: exiles who fled from tyranny and those who suffered under Castro's rule. "It is the responsibility of the civilized world to act to see that the Cuban family is reunited under political and economic freedom," said McCarry.

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