After the Primavera Negra of 2003, the European Union joined the rest of the free world in condemning the Cuban regime for its latest affront against the basic human rights of its citizens. In addition, the EU imposed sanctions against the rogue regime. By 2005, however, the measures were lifted and the sanctions were left in name only.
Today the EU’s commission for external relations decided to lift those sanctions. Even with such members as the Czech Republic and Sweden calling for the symbolic sanctions to be kept in place until the regime shows at least some improvement in its human rights record, the commission chose to ignore their pleas and the plight of the tens of thousands of Cuba’s political prisoners, and remove the sanctions.
The reason behind their decision? According to the EU commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, “the EU leaders feel they have to cooperate with changes in Cuba after [r]aul [c]astro took over as the head of the country’s government from his ailing brother [f]idel.”
Cell phones, computers, and weekend stays in all-inclusive resorts—all of which only the regime’s elite and a small fraction of the Cuban population can afford. To the EU, though, that constitutes a huge leap in progress toward respecting human rights.
Methinks Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet who is languishing in a dark jail cell right now might disagree.
UPDATE – 11:07 pm
According to this Daily Mail online article, the lifting of the symbolic sanctions by the EU will “encourage reforms.”
The move is largely symbolic, but will be seen as a victory for Cuba’s new premier, [r]aul [c]astro – who took over from his brother nearly two years ago.
European leaders are keen to encourage him to press ahead with democratic and economic reforms.
I am sure the results of this strategy will come as no surprise. It was the same strategy in place during the last Primavera Negra.