The European Union (EU) and Cuba talked this Friday about “political freedoms”, “human rights” and the “situation created, before, during and after” the massive protests of July 11, 2021 (11J).
The high representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, affirmed that he also “hopes” to talk about the matter with the Minister of Justice, Oscar Silvera, with whom he will meet in Havana.
Borrell made these statements after concluding the third Cuba-European Union joint council in the Cuban capital, accompanied by the Island’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anayansi Rodríguez.
“We cannot ignore the fact that we have differences (…) but the EU has neither the capacity nor the will to impose changes in Cuba, but we do want to have a framework for dialogue that allows us to talk about everything that unites us and differentiates us without taboos or prohibitions”, clarified the high representative.
The European diplomat announced that next November the EU special representative for human rights, Eamon Gilmore, will visit the Island to follow up on the situation of those detained and sentenced for 9/11.
“We want to have a framework for dialogue that allows us to talk about everything that unites us and differentiates us without taboos or prohibitions”
Finally, the long-awaited meeting between the high European representative and the Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez, did not materialize. The two politicians were going to talk about the controversial Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (ADPC) between the two parties, but the chancellor excused himself alleging a “sudden viral condition” that forces him to “responsible isolation”.
“Diplomatic” illness or real malaise – it is no secret that Bruno Rodríguez is not in good health – the foreign minister gave Borrell a “warm welcome”, expressed “wishes for success” to the Joint Council between both parties and extended his “gratitude ” due to the demand of the EU “to put an end to the blockade” – although it is not known that Borrell has spoken of “blockade” in his public statements – and the exclusion of Cuba from the list of US sponsors of terrorism.
In this regard, the leader of European diplomacy said he regretted “not having been able to be with him.” The meeting with Rodríguez was going to be one of the key moments on Borrell’s agenda, along with the joint council this Friday, and a common statement was scheduled without questions from the press.
On the other hand, Borrell held a meeting with bishops, of which he gave an account through Twitter and in which they addressed “religious freedom, the socioeconomic situation and other issues.” And he pointed out: “The Catholic Church has an important role in facing the challenges of the Cuban reality.”
He also expressed that “there are things that people should have even if they can’t afford them: rights“, and asked to “seek a balance between fundamental freedoms, private initiative, fiscal equity, State action and individual economic action.” In the same message, he assured that the EU offers its cooperation to the Island.
The senior official has also received complaints for not referring to political prisoners, some of whom are on hunger strike
Borrell’s visit, which concludes this Saturday, has been surrounded by requests from various NGOs, including Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), that human rights continue to be a priority in EU policy. towards Cuba.
The senior official has also received complaints for not referring to political prisoners, some of whom are on hunger strike.
In his first public act in Havana, this Thursday, at an event on Cuban micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the European official announced that the EU will possibly hold a dialogue on human rights with Cuba at the end of this year.
Borrell stressed that the bloc’s “desire” is to “accompany Cuba in its process of opening up, of economic and social reforms, from a relationship of mutual respect, to cooperate in improving the lives of all Cubans.”
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