Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Nobody likes to be lectured in the public arena"

It’s for the Europeans to decide, but it has never made sense to me that the countries of the European Union, with their diversity of experience, connections to Cuba, and views about Cuba, would strait-jacket themselves into a “common position,” a single diplomatic posture toward Cuba. The current direction – with Spain deepening its connections and dialogue while others take their own route – seems beneficial to me.

And three cheers for Spain for defending their position, first in its foreign minister’s visit to Prague, the center of the U.S.-supported effort to return to the 2003 diplomatic sanctions, and now in a foreign ministry official’s visit to Washington. The Spanish have some concrete ideas to propose in their human rights dialogue with Cuba, the Herald reports, including visits by the Red Cross and human rights monitors.

And a Spanish socialist in the European parliament points out in an interview that “we don’t want Spain to be out of the game in the post-Castro era, without knowledge or presence in Cuba.”

Spain’s position is hardly radical. Its logic is embraced by President Bush when it comes to China. Consider this excerpt from a Bush speech in January of 2006, showing his sensitive side when it comes to the feelings of the communists in Beijing, with whom he discusses human rights and democratic values:

“One thing that matters to me is the freedom of the Chinese people. I think any time in the diplomatic arena, you want the President to be in a position where he can have a relationship where you can speak with candor and your words can be heard, as opposed to a relationship that gets so tense and so off-putting because of distrust. Nobody likes to be lectured in the public arena, let me put it to you that way. I don't like it, and I'm sure other leaders don't like it. And so I've worked hard to make sure that my personal diplomacy is such that I'm able to make certain points with the Chinese…”


leftside said...

US hypocrisy on Cuban policy? I am shocked...

Just goes to prove that to US policymakers it's all about freedom... of markets and capital, not democracy and human rights. It is about burying socialism for good. Too bad this doesn't seem in the cards nowadays in Latin America.

Karamchand said...

Imagino que a los cheers tuyos se unirán sobre todo y especialmente los españoles que tienen negocios en Cuba, que son los verdaderos motores de la política española hacia la isla.

Anonymous said...

great posting, very insightful... I just wish other actors in the debate would get it.