Spain supports human rights abuses in Cuba (UPDATED)

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.

UPDATE (Henry):

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.

9 thoughts on “Spain supports human rights abuses in Cuba (UPDATED)”

  1. Don Tomas –

    The Spanish government wants Spain to be first at the table in the event of change, or to continue doing business if no or little change. In the event of change it will be up to a new Cuban Government to
    FREEZE these assets until the situation is clarified as the US did with “Enemy Assets” in World War II (Including Joe DiMaggio’s father’s fishing boat!, as the elder DiMaggio was still an Italian National at the time.)
    With assets FROZEN – it’s a whole new ballgame. -S-

  2. With respect to Cuba, Spain has so much to answer for that it will never do it, certainly not fully, and it would only do it partially to the extent that it is forced to do so. That is one of the countless challenges that awaits a free Cuba, not only for the sake of justice, but also for the sake of dignity and honor. We were very forgiving and all too generous with the Spanish after centuries of colonialism and the ravages and horrors of the wars of independence, and they have repaid us by stabbing us in the back. We must not be fools a second time.

    Even the Spanish anti-socialist camp can’t see or won’t admit the ugly truth, which explains their defensiveness over the BUCL campaign. They will condemn the Zapatero government, which is easy and painless enough to do, but that’s a cop-out and a dodge (and by the way, I say the same thing to any Cuban who implies Cuba’s tragedy is all the fault of the Castro brothers and a few others near them). The Spanish problem with Cuba goes back at least to 1898, and it is much more than political. There are serious unresolved psychological issues and, quite possibly, also character issues.

    It is beyond absurd and insulting for Spain to presume to any special standing or authority when it comes to dealing with Cuba, and the European community should dismiss such pretensions completely, for they are at best laughable. It’s like a child molester or rapist wanting to function as that child’s guardian. The best Spain will ever do on its own, even under a PP government, is to say the right things, evade responsibility and try to get us to forget we were royally screwed (and yes, that does include the Spanish royals). It will try to “start afresh,” play the sentimental card big time, and “aqui no ha pasado nada.” That may have been marginally understandable the first time around, but Spain has totally forfeited the benefit of the doubt. I repeat, we must not be fools again.

  3. A parent that opts not only to ignore its child’s suffering but to prolong and profit from it is despicable. I don’t know how else to put it.

  4. The list of countries that have benefited from Cuba’s tragedy is very long: Spain heads the list followed by Mexico and Canada.

Comments are closed.