President Bush on Monday called for free elections in Cuba and met with prominent dissidents on the 89th anniversary of Cuban independence.

Bush, in an address broadcast over Radio Marti, also demanded that Fidel Castro free political prisoners and allow the United Nations to investigate human rights in the country."We brought to the president the suffering of the Cuban people (and) the political prisoners," said Ernesto Diaz Rodriguez, a poet recently released after 22 years in Castro's jails, who met with Bush in the Oval Office.

The president said in his taped radio message that U.S. relations with Cuba can improve under specific conditions.

"If Cuba holds fully free and fair elections, under international supervision, respects human rights and stops subverting its neighbors, we can expect relations between our two countries to improve significantly," he said.