Back to the drawing board
Despite concerns from several member nations, in particular the eastern Europeans, the EU agreed to lift the sanctions on Thursday as a way of effectively rewarding Raul Castro for introducing a number of "reforms" since taking over officially from Fidel Castro.
But if Mr Zapatero and company were expecting a big thank you from Havana, they are in for a big surprise.
In an article published by the official Cuban media, Fidel Castro has resurfaced from semi-retirement to lash out at the EU's decision, describing it as "an enormous hypocrisy".
According to the BBC, the semi-retired Castro thinks the decision is "disparaging" and should be treated with contempt because it was conditioned on Cuba improving its shocking record on human and political rights.
So, it's back to the drawing board for the EU ... as is always the case when it comes to well-meaning Westerners who try to appease dictators.