Political prisoners in Cuba

Cuban Opposition Deplores Secrecy of Cuba-EU Negotiations

Cuban Opposition Deplores Secrecy of Cuba-EU Negotiations / 14ymedio,
Mario Felix Lleonart

14ymedio, Mario Felix Lleonart, Brussels, 1 June 2016 – Cuban
representatives who participated in the conference in the European
Parliament held last Tuesday in Brussels about relations between the
European Union and Cuba were skeptical about the cooperation agreement
that will be signed by both sides at the end of the year, or at the
latest, at the beginning of 2017.

The Island’s delegation – Rosa Maria Paya, promotor of the Cuba Decides
campaign; Pedro Fuentes Cid, spokesman for the Historical Center of
Political Prisoners; and the author of these lines, a Baptist pastor and
manager of the Cuban National Conference – lamented that civil Cuban
society has not been taken into account in the negotiations for the
agreement that will substitute for the European Union Common Position
which, since 1996, has delineated relations of the twenty-eight EU
countries with the Island.

Also present at the meeting, organized by the Alliance of Liberals and
Democrats for Europe (ALDE), were Ben Nupnau, official from the European
Foreign Service Division for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean,
and Pavel Telicka, vice-president of ALDE.

Nupnau expressed Europe’s good intentions for the positive effects that
the cooperation agreement could have on democratization and respect for
human rights in the Cuba. Nevertheless, the Cubans present argued that
the Island’s government had not given the EU any expectation of
guarantees about human rights and democratic freedoms, given the
persistent signs of verifiable repression in 54 Sundays of harassment of
the Ladies in White and the monthly statistics of arbitrary detentions
produced by Cuba’s Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission.

The Island’s delegation pointed out the secret character that so far
tarnishes the agreement and questioned the fact that neither European
nor Cuban citizens had been able to express opinions about its contents.

The delegation also encouraged the EU, if it is in competition with the
United States with respect to Cuba, to also compete in support of civil
society. The panelists emphasized that, in spite of pressure by Cuban
negotiators, the US had not given up doing so, while the EU only
supports civil society as conceived of or endorsed by the government in
Havana, the very one that has tried to muzzle it.

The EU, according to participants in the meeting, must be aware of the
close relations that the Cuban government has with enemies of Europe and
of democracy such as North Korea, Russia and Belarus.

The Cuban ambassador in Brussels, Norma Goicochea Estenoz, declined the
invitation to participate in the meeting and sent an email to explain
that she could not meet in the same place as “mercenaries.” The diplomat
acted consistently with the intransigent position of the Cuban
government, capable of sitting down to negotiate with the biggest
powers, even when, as in the case of the United States, it has to do
with its historical enemy, but refusing to engage in dialog with its own
people, whom it thus insults and denigrates.

On Wednesday, the official presented a complaint to the European Foreign
Service about the ALDE conference. Some supposed that it was going to
make clear that its embassy had nothing to do with certain attendees who
took advantage of public intervention time in order to question the
legitimacy of the panelists, matching the views given in her email. It
is supposed that those who suspect that may be right, given that the
reason for her urgent visit to the European chancery was to again lash
out against the panelists and, in turn, also against Telicka and ALDE.

Translated by Mary Lou Keel

Source: Cuban Opposition Deplores Secrecy of Cuba-EU Negotiations /
14ymedio, Mario Felix Lleonart – Translating Cuba –
translatingcuba.com/cuban-opposition-deplores-secrecy-of-cuba-eu-negotiations-14ymedio-mario-felix-lleonart/

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