How the EU Promotes Democracy
The EU's development commissioner, Louis Michel, visited Cuba recently, where he was allowed to meet with anti-regime dissidents and the wives of political prisoners. According to Britain's Telegraph, Michel used the occasion to caution these "pro-democracy activists to avoid 'provoking' Fidel Castro."
Dissident economist Marta Beatriz Roque wasn't too happy with Michel's advice, and objected to a recent EU decision to suspend diplomatic sanctions against Cuba and to develop closer ties. "The government is not going to change," she told the Telegraph. "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."
The Telegraph reported that Michel also "declined to offer support for a planned dissident 'congress', uniting 300 Cuban rights groups." The EU's decision to drop its diplomatic sanctions against the Castro regime was reportedly the result of "heavy pressure from the socialist government in Spain."
Thanks to: Brian Micklethwait at Samizdata.