Monday, March 28, 2005

European Appeasement of Castro Criticized

A Cuban dissident has found the temerity to chastise a visiting European Union development minister Louis Michel, who advised pro-democracy forces in Cuba against protesting the Castro-regime's brutal suppression of human rights, so as not to "provoke" the aging dictator.

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.

"The government is not going to change. Castro is deaf. Sanctions have a political value because they demonstrate to the whole world that Castro is a human rights abuser. The EU should not be seeking deeper relations with a totalitarian regime," she said. "The fact that we could meet Mr Michel one day, for an hour, is an isolated phenomenon.

The Cuban government allowed it to take place so the EU would see what the authorities wanted them to see. I don't understand how Mr Michel, who is an intelligent person, can think that he understands Cuba in the short time that he was here."

Mr Michel's visit was intended to herald a fresh start for friendly relations between Cuba and Europe, following the EU's recent decision - under heavy pressure from the socialist government in Spain - to suspend diplomatic sanctions imposed on Havana in 2003.

Ms. Roque risked much to level her criticism. After Mr. Michel and his entourage of Brussels bureaucrats have departed Cuba's desolate shores, the Castro regime will doubtless make its displeasure fully known to Ms. Roque. Mr. Michel, however, seemed blissfully oblivious of this fact - or in willful denial of the Castro regime's true nature.
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.
This is the same EU that wants to sell weapons technology to China, even though that country is ruled by a brutal and repressive regime and despite that very real possibility that such technology would be used against the innocent people of Taiwan and the United States. The EU manifests the Europe's traditioanl craven prediliction towards appeasement and, thus, stands as an ally to neither the US nor human rights.


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