View Full Version : Cuba and the EU

5th April 2005, 10:34 AM
Two years ago, Castro jailed 75 dissidents and the EU imposed sanctions. Castro released 14 people and the EU dropped the sanctions. Once the sanctions were dropped, Castro returned to repression as usual.

EVERY Sunday the wives of 75 dissidents jailed by Cuba's communist government in 2003 put on white clothes and attend mass at the church of Santa Rita in Miramar, a once-elegant district of Havana. After the service, they quietly walk up and down ten blocks of the avenue outside, before gathering briefly in a park. ...
These sustained public displays of opposition are almost unprecedented in a tightly controlled country. Hitherto, the government has chosen to ignore them. But on Palm Sunday, the wives felt the regime's wrath. They were besieged by 200 members of the government-backed Cuban Women's Federation, screeching insults, chanting slogans and waving the national flag. The previous day a mob had attacked a dissident supporter.
.... This weekend, Louis Michel, the European commissioner for aid, will become the most senior EU official to visit the island since the crackdown.http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=3790009


5th April 2005, 11:37 AM
A Cuban dissident poured scorn yesterday on a visiting European Union leader who told pro-democracy activists to avoid 'provoking' Fidel Castro.

The EU development commissioner, Louis Michel, also earned criticism for declaring, at the end of a four-day visit, that he was "very optimistic" about human rights on the communist island because he was allowed to meet groups of senior democracy activists and the wives of political prisoners.
But one of the dissident leaders who met the commissioner, Marta Beatriz Roque, the economist, said the encounter was window-dressing by the Castro regime, which continued to repress democratic activists. She also "respectfully disagreed" with an EU decision to suspend diplomatic sanctions on Cuba, and to seek closer ties.

Mr Michel, a Belgian, said he was encouraged by signs of change in Cuba and declined to offer support for a planned dissident "congress", uniting 300 Cuban rights groups.