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Democracy fund draws protests

The week's news at a glance.

Havana

The Bush administration this week established an $80 million fund to help speed Cuba’s “transition to democracy”—prompting immediate protests from the Cuban government. The fund will be used to buy supplies such as computers and fax machines for pro-democracy activists in Cuba, as well as for their backers in the U.S. It was one of several measures recommended by a high-level U.S. commission that also called for tightening trade sanctions against the Castro regime. Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba’s National Assembly, denounced the initiative as a covert plan to annex Cuba to the U.S., saying it would “cause harm and suffering and deprivation to individuals.” Some prominent democracy activists in Cuba also voiced concern, saying they feared the fund would make them look like Washington’s pawns, rather than homegrown reformers.

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