Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Peace in our time, etc

I know, I know … It’s all getting a bit boring.

But allow me to share with you some further observations on the visit this week to Havana by the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Miguel Angel Moratinos.

It’s become increasingly clear that the "historic" visit is almost certainly part of a plan by the Spanish government (and Havana?) to water down the existing European Union stance on Cuba.

As you may recall, the EU announced a range of mostly symbolic but important diplomatic sanctions against the Castro regime in 2003 following the arrest and incarceration of 75 dissidents.

Those sanctions, which enraged Fidel Castro, had been strongly promoted by the then Spanish prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar.

Two years later, the sanctions were watered down somewhat – at the insistence of the newly elected Socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero.

Now, it seems the Spaniards are leading the charge to further water down the diplomatic sanctions and return EU-Cuba relations back to “normal”.

This has led to a split within the EU, as you can read in this excellent summary written by Andrew Rettman in EU Observer.

According to the publication, there is a “let’s be friends to those nice Castro brothers” group led by Spain, and a “let’s demand democracy in Cuba now” group led by the Czech.

And the Czech are not alone. They have support from countries such as Poland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, the Baltic states, Hungary, Ireland and Portugal.

As EU Observer points out, Spanish and Czech diplomats in Brussels are unwilling to speak openly about the continuing s
toush, but Czech non-government organisations “are happy to say out loud what Prague is thinking in private”.

"The visit of the Spanish minister of foreign affairs to Cuba is driven by bilateral economic interests," the publication quotes Kristina Prunerova, an analyst with the group People in Need.

"The situation is getting worse in Cuba every day - more and more people are being detained, harassed and threatened," Ms Prunerova said. "But with this visit, Spain is giving the sign that the Cuban regime is acceptable as a partner and can be dealt with on a regular basis."

In a nutshell.


Blogger Henry Gomez said...

Tonight in Miami they had some apologist for the Spanish government on saying that without communication there is no progress. Of course this is true when you have two honest parties at the table with a desire to negotiate. The castro regime is neither on honest nor willing to negotiate. So what good does talking do? It's like playing cards with a confirmed cheater. Why would you do it? Idiots. I hope every Spanish business in Cuba loses it's ass.

1:27 pm  

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