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Roundtable Interview of President Bush by Foreign Print Journalists (Part 2 of 2)

Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580


WASHINGTON, Mar. 7 /Standard Newswire/ -- The following text from a roundtable interview of President Bush by foreign print journalists:


Roosevelt Room

March 6, 2007

9:03 A.M. EST


Anyway.  The final question.  Jose.


Q    Mr. President, from your past experience --




Q    Gracias.


THE PRESIDENT:  Jorge.  Jorge W.  (Laughter.)


Q    From your past experience in the energy sector, you know that Mexico and Canada are strategic partners for the U.S. -- through the subject of energy.  And what benefits do you think that Mexico will get, and also its neighbors, from a position of opening its energy sector to private investment?


THE PRESIDENT:  Jose was right, that our biggest suppliers of energy are Canada and Mexico, and that's good.  I'd much rather be getting energy from stable sources that are friendly than from sources that are unstable and not friendly.  And since we import about 60 percent of our crude oil from overseas, we are obviously dependent upon stability -- one reason why, Jose, that it's important for us to work with countries to help develop a more robust ethanol and biofuels industry.  And I believe it's coming.  However, having said that, we're still going to require oil.  And to the extent that Mexico makes the decision internally to be able to attract enough capital to expand to keep up with world demand, that would be positive.  But most of all, it would be positive for Mexico.


Mexico has got a valuable asset in its energy sector.  The demand for that energy is significant.  However, the exploitation of that energy requires significant investment.  It requires investment to keep their sector -- the current sector modernized, and as you all know, that as Mexico continues to expand its production in deeper waters in the Gulf of Mexico, that requires even more capital investment.  So to the extent that the government feels comfortable being able to track sources of capital outside of the government cash flow, to me that would be something that certainly ought to considered by President Calderon.


And we're fortunate that Canada and Mexico are vibrant energy producers.


THE PRESIDENT:  Okay?  Looking forward to the trip.


Q    A final one on Castro?


THE PRESIDENT:  On Castro, sure?  Sure.  The universal Castro question?  (Laughter.)  Can you come up with a unified question?


Q    What role can the countries of Latin America, like Brazil, like other partners in Latin America, can play in the Cuban transition to democracy?


THE PRESIDENT:  The message, in my judgment, to the world during a transition period is freedom, that we ought to expect that the Cuban people have the right to express themselves openly without fear of reprisal, to be able to express themselves at the ballot box, and to be able to realize potential as a result of an open economy.


What I hope happens is that we together insist that transition doesn't mean transition from one figure to another, but transition means from one type of government to a different type of government, based upon the will of the people.  That will certainly be the position of the United States.  We believe the Cuban people ought to make the decision for the future.  We believe it ought to be up to the people, the long-suffering people of that island to decide their fate, not the fate -- not to be decided because somebody is somebody's brother; the fate ought to be decided because that's what the people want.


And I would hope those who have lived under the blessings of liberty have the same message.  Vamos a ver, cuando -- how long he stays on earth, that's a decision that will be made by the Almighty.  But once that happens, once -- you know, Fidel Castro may live -- I don't know, I don't know how long he's going to live -- but, nevertheless, I do believe that the system of government that he's imposed upon the people ought not live if that's what the people decide.


Okay.  Gracias.


    END   9:43 A.M. EST