Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Scolding Spain

As Spanish officials began human rights discussions with Cuban counterparts, Secretary of State Rice, en route to Europe, takes a shot at Spain. After deigning to acknowledge that Spain has democratic values and represents them in Cuba, she questions how those values are “advanced by simply dealing with the current regime.” With that statement, Rice is criticizing Foreign Minister Moratinos for not visiting dissidents during his last trip to Cuba (he had an aide see them instead).

Rice has never gone to Cuba to visit dissidents or anyone else, but never mind.

It is incorrect that Spain is “simply dealing” with Cuban officials. Its embassy may be the most plugged-in in Havana. Unlike their American colleagues, Spain’s diplomats travel outside Havana and their contacts range throughout Cuban society. They know the human rights situation and the Cubans who defend human rights. Maybe Secretary Rice will hear about some of that after she delivers her message that “the Cubans deserve better.”

Rice, it turns out, doesn’t sound very bullish on the dissident movement; it’s a “very nascent and fragile democratic opposition that is beginning to arise,” she says.

No comments: