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Bush Hopes Cubans Will Choose New Government After Castro

On the eve of his six-day tour of Latin America, President Bush says the people of Cuba should decide what form of government to support after the death of their President Fidel Castro.

In interviews published in Latin America Wednesday, Mr. Bush said Mr. Castro has "imposed" his Communist government on Cuba. He said he hopes Cubans transition to a new type of government after Mr. Castro's death.

Mr. Castro transferred power to his brother, Defense Minister Raul Castro, after having intestinal surgery in July.

President Bush will travel to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico over the next week. He has said the United States will support initiatives to strengthen government institutions in the region, assist in education and health care, and improve the countries' economies.

Mr. Bush also said he welcomes an anti-Bush rally planned in Argentina, because he loves freedom and the right for people to express themselves. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an outspoken critic of President Bush, has said he plans to attend the rally.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.