The Cuban dictatorship rounds up a couple of hundred dissidents, threatens them, beats them, and Spain inks an agreement to re-establish the cooperation that was halted in 2003 when Havana jailed 75 journalists and dissidents. Most of them are still jailed under horrific conditions; in filthy vermin infested cells, without potable water, served rotting food not fit for dogs, denied medical treatment, beaten, and tortured. Why the deal now, what has changed? Apparently, the Spanish government’s tolerance for the amount of Cuban blood they are willing to have on their hands.
Reuters – Cuba and Spain on Saturday took a big step toward mending relations by signing a broad agreement that re-establishes cooperation halted in 2003 after Havana jailed 75 dissidents.
Spanish International Cooperation Minister Leire Pajin said the deal includes support for small business, the environment, food security and joint efforts in other countries such as Haiti.
Pajin said after the signing ceremony in Havana that it was not yet possible to set an amount of aid for the first year of the agreement in 2008 because some projects were still in the planning stages.
Spain is Cuba’s third-biggest trading partner at around $1 billion per year and a major investor in the island nation.
“We are going to resume cooperation. The challenge is to demonstrate to other European countries that we can work together based on respect and equality,” Cuban Minister of Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation Marta Lomas told the media on Friday.
The European Union is split over Cuba. Spain’s new Socialist government favors engagement as its former colony approaches a post-Castro era. But other EU members want to keep up pressure for political change in Cuba.
Cuba rejected EU aid in 2003 after European criticism of Havana for suppressing human rights.
In April Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos traveled to Cuba to sign an agreement to renew cooperation without conditions, discuss human rights issues and improve economic relations through renegotiation of Cuba’s debt.
Never mind the political prisoners, never mind the lack of human rights, never mind the regimes crimes against humanity. Cooperation without conditions is a green light for the continued enslavement of the Cuban people.
You’ll remember that we were criticized heavily, both by domestic and Spanish bloggers, for our first Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty campaign denouncing Spain’s cooperation with repression in Cuba. We were right to denounce it then, and we are right to denounce it now.