Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba
It was directed to report to the U.S. president by May 1, 2004, with recommendations on developing a comprehensive program to: (1) "Bring about a peaceful, near-term end to the dictatorship;" (2) "Establish democratic institutions, respect for human rights, and the rule of law;" (3) "Create the core institutions of a free economy;" (4) "Modernize infrastructure;" and (5) "Meet basic needs in the areas of health, education, housing, and human services." Five working groups, consisting of agencies with relevant authority and expertise, developed recommendations for the U.S. president in these five topic areas.
Commission members include all Cabinet-level agencies. The core agencies responsible for day-to-day operations of the Commission include, the Secretary of State (Chairman); Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Secretary of the Treasury; Secretary of Commerce; Secretary of Homeland Security; the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, or their designees. The core group undertakes the day-to-day work of the Commission. Any and all U.S. Government agencies may be called upon to provide support to the Commission's work through the authority granted it by National Security Presidential Directive 29 to create and task working groups.
The commission's first report was released to the public on May 6, 2004. It set out a plan for bringing about change on the island, outlined numerous perceived problem areas and outlined solutions to solve them.
The commission released a second report on July 2006, which built on the findings of the first report. It also issued the "Compact with the Cuban People," which pledged the US government to assist a transition government.
Response of the Cuban Government
Fidel Castro referred to Rice as a "mad" woman and US Chief of Mission in Havana Michael E. Parmly as a "little gangster" and a "bully". He insisted that, in spite of the formation of the Commission, Cuba is itself "in transition: to socialism [and] to communism" and that it is "ridiculous for the U.S. to threaten Cuba now".