Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In Bed With Evil

Fret all you like.

The status quo is based on an EU policy paper dating back to 1996 which says that "the objective of the EU in its relations with Cuba is to encourage a process of transition to pluralist democracy and respect for human rights" but despite its tough wording the old EU model has done little to strengthen pro-democracy opposition groups.
But since 1996 the best they’ve managed is to attempt to conceal from view engagement endeavors with the Cubans using EU and member state monies and private arranged efforts. Imprisoning dissidents? Don’t ask, don’t tell!
But Spain, supported by Greece and Cyprus, wants Berlin to shelve the new EU paper despite its softly-softly approach. Madrid says any EU policy shift in mid-2007 could damage prospects of a "new era" in Cuba-EU relations, with the opening created by the fragile health of 80-year old leader Fidel Castro and upcoming elections in March 2008.
Aside from the wishful thinking that an election in Cuba could matter, one has to point out the obvious – even a “softly-softly” approach to the advancement of human freedom and the alleviation of poverty and misery is more than the ideologues in Madrid can bear. Quite simply, without a veneer of fake radicalism, it’s inadequate.

Alas, off in the distance, can’t one hear the thundering clamor for a “human rights Europe”?
"The visit of the Spanish minister of foreign affairs to Cuba is driven by bilateral economic interests," People in Need analyst Kristina Prunerova said, predicting that Mr Moratinos will not meet any real dissidents on the trip but that Havana might release a handful of political prisoners to help Madrid "sell" its policy back in Brussels.
Or is that the desperate sound of begging?

No comments: