[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Zapatero, Are You Paying Attention?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Zapatero, Are You Paying Attention?

From Net for Cuba:

EU CONCERNED OVER NEW CUBA CLAMPDOWN (AFP) - The European Union voiced deep concern Sunday over Cuba's latest clampdown on dissidents, lamenting a renewed hardening of stance in Havana six months after the EU suspended sanctions against the island state.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, welcomed news that key opposition figure Marta Beatriz Roque had been released, but condemned the rounding up of more than a dozen dissidents on Friday."The European Commission remains extremely concerned about the current political situation in Cuba," it said in a statement. "Recent events appear to show a clear hardening in the attitude of the government of Cuba." "While the Commission is pleased at news of the release of Martha Beatriz Roque, the arrest of a number of Cuban dissidents on (Friday) nevertheless illustrates the extreme social tension in Cuba at the present time."Roque, a 60-year-old economist, is president of the Assembly for the Promotion of Civil Society, which organized a protest Friday to demand the release of political prisoners from Cuban jails. She was among a group of activists arrested in Havana in what appears to be a new crackdown on the opposition by President Fidel Castro's communist regime.

Dissidents said Sunday that Cuban authorities had released nine detained political dissidents over the weekend, including Roque, but continued to hold another 17 activists. The EU slapped diplomatic sanctions on Cuba in 2003 after a crackdown on dissidents which saw 75 of them jailed. But the 25-nation bloc suspended the action in January, amid conciliatory signs from both sides. The suspension was extended by EU foreign ministers in June, but in theory could be ended at any point. The next meeting of EU foreign ministers is scheduled at the start of September.
I could have picked on France, Germany, or any of the other EU countries that supported the suspension of the sanctions, but I've selected the ol' Shoemaker himself because he almost certainly lobbied the hardest to lift the sanctions.

It should be perfectly clear to Zapatero and the rest of the EU that no easing of sanctions, no dialogue will encourage castro from ending the oppression, abiding by international human rights regulations, or allowing civil liberties.

Spain's previous administration understood perfectly. We're still waiting for the current one to learn.


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