Friday, March 7, 2008

He went anyway

The Bush Administration apparently lobbied in European capitals to block the visit to Havana of top European Union aid official Louis Michel. Reuters report here.

Michel arrived yesterday.

The EU’s representative in Havana says he hopes the visit will be “a step toward normalizing relations,” but it’s not clear to me from press reports what steps on Cuba’s part would cause the EU to normalize.

My bet is that EU member states themselves aren’t in agreement on that, although they would all want “to advance a peaceful process of transition toward a pluralistic democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental liberties,” as Michel’s spokesman said last week.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

"it’s not clear to me from press reports what steps on Cuba’s part would cause the EU to normalize."

Phil, you are the master of the understatement....

Phil Peters said...

well, sometimes there's a lot to understate

Fantomas said...

levantar las restricciones

no, no, no, Rajoy no permitiria eso

Rajoy sera candela si sale

Arriba PP

Agustin Farinas said...

Phil wrote: "It’s not clear to me from press reports what steps on Cuba’s part would cause the EU to normalize."
If after all this time and observance of the Cuban scene and watching the behavior of its leaders Phil needs to know, then he is in deep doo-doo and needs to do a lot of reading.

Phil Peters said...

Farinas, thanks for that wonderful comment. Now that you've got that off your chest, are you going to tell us?

Agustin Farinas said...

Phil,
for starters the European Community should not remove any of the sanctions imposed in 2003 because nothing has changed since they were imposed and the reasons for the sanctions still remains.
Prisoners sentenced to long prison terms only for expressing their opinions and not for illegal or violent acts against the State.
That should be a good start, or shouldn't it be?

Phil Peters said...

Well my curiosity was about what conditions the EU would impose. Now, if Mr Michel has his way, the sanctions (suspended since 2005 anyway) would just be dropped without setting any prior condition. But for that to happen he will have to overcome the stalemate among EU countries.

Since you asked, my preference is for a policy of engagement, just as we do now, and did in the past, with regard to other communist countries.

Agustin Farinas said...

Phil,
The European Comunity has been enganging Cuba for decades, and actually bending backwards to accomodate the Cuban regime. What have they got in return? Nothing tangible. A few prisoners released here and there every once in a while to placate them, (who should not have been in jail to begin with for they committed no crimes) whose only crime was disagreement with governmnet policies that they perceived as totalitarian and tyrannical, and they are.
No freedom of movement, no freedom of the press, no political opening of any kind. So what exactly do you think the EU Community has achieved with these constructive engament?
Cuba is as much a repressive regime as it was when all this process began many years ago.
The transition was a joke, only its humour was lost on most Cubans who do not see any changes in their daily life full of incredile prohibitions and necessities.
Or what is Cuba? A farm or a banana hacienda that when the dictator ruler for over 49 years, is infirm and sick, he can pass it on to his brother and he continues to run things as they were? Or is it that suddenly Cuba has become a communist dynasty just like North Korea? CastroII is nothing but CastroI recycled with a metamorphosis and a perceived desired by those who want to ignore the last 49 years of number Two as the enforcer of Number One's policies. But there are those in the world that with incredible myopia,insist on seeing this guy Nunber II as a reformer and a pragmatic guy. Such illusions would be dispelled if one makes an objective assesment of the last 49 years of the Cuban regime. Raul is a stalinist at heart, and he proved it beyond any doubt with the selection of the new Council of State. It is a joke when one sees these new Council as nothing but a bunch of old men who are still fighting a guerrilla war in their feeble minds, bent on hanging on to power no matter what comes ahead.
"El que vive de ilusiones, se muere de desengaƱos", as my mother would say.