Friday, June 8, 2007

EU normalization?

At EU, a report that at the instigation of Spain and others, the EU may drop its diplomatic sanctions against Cuba, adopted in 2003 and suspended since 2005.

The sanctions included limits on high-level visits and a policy of inviting dissidents to European embassies’ national day receptions. The impact was that European embassies saw reduced contact with Cuban officials while maintaining contact with dissidents. Small-scale local aid projects and law enforcement cooperation carried on.

What is not at issue in this EU debate is economic sanctions. No European country is proposing limits on trade, travel, or investment.

Given the divergent European points of view about how to conduct relations with Cuba – and specifically about the utility of contact with senior officials at this moment in Cuba’s history – it’s surprising these sanctions were not scrapped long ago, allowing EU members each to go their own way.

One assumes that the U.S. government continues to weigh in. U.S.-Spain differences have not been settled, but U.S officials say that Madrid’s goals are the same as Washington’s, and the disagreement is over tactics. That – and the problems inherent in Washington’s own tactics – may take some edge off Washington’s argument.

Meanwhile, from Havana, the Damas de Blanco addressed the issue in a letter to Euro-parliamentarians. They chide those who deal with Cuba with “naivete” and “unlimited preference for economic and commercial interests,” and criticize Spain’s human rights discussions with Cuba.

1 comment:

leftside said...

What is "naive" is to think you can affect a country's future (the tactic) by relying on 3rd party information from mostly interested parties. And to think this "cocktail war" has anything to do with business is simply uninformed. The intransiance of the "dissidents" is unfortunate. It will not get their best hopes anywhere..

I doubt the Cuba cares much about this annual EU charade. Spain seems to now matter, but few else. Cuba has stopped looking to Europe for much solidarity.