"Millions of people still live under regimes that violate their citizens' rights daily," Bush said in a statement issued as he made a day-trip to Dallas from his Texas ranch. "In countries such as Burma and Iran, citizens lack the right to choose their government, speak out against oppression, and practice their religion freely," Bush said. "The despot who rules Cuba imprisons political opponents and crushes peaceful opposition," he said, in barbed remarks aimed at Fidel Castro.
There were also harsh words for North Korea, with which Washington has been locked in a nuclear showdown since October. "Hundreds of thousands languish in prison camps and citizens suffer from malnutrition as the regime pursues weapons of mass destruction," Bush said. "Violence, corruption, and mismanagement reign in Zimbabwe and an authoritarian government in Belarus smothers political dissent."
But Bush lauded his ouster of the "brutal regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq," during a US-led war earlier this year. "The Iraqi people are no longer captives in their own country," Bush said. "Their freedom is evidence of the fall of one of the most oppressive dictators in history," he said, claiming that Iraqis were now meeting "openly and freely" to discuss the future of their country. [End]