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VACLAV HAVEL: Shameful EU appeasement of Castro puts profit before principle
Scotland on Sunday ^ | February 6, 2005 | Vaclav Havel

Posted on 02/05/2005 4:36:48 PM PST by MadIvan

I VIVIDLY remember the slightly ludicrous, slightly risqué and somewhat distressing predicament in which Western diplomats in Prague found themselves during the Cold War.

They regularly needed to resolve the delicate issue of whether to invite to their embassy celebrations various Charter 77 signatories, human-rights activists, critics of the communist regime, displaced politicians, or even banned writers, scholars and journalists - people with whom the diplomats were generally friends.

Sometimes we dissidents were not invited, but received an apology; and sometimes we were invited, but did not accept the invitation so as not to complicate the lives of our courageous diplomat friends. Or we were invited to come at an earlier hour in the hope that we would leave before the official representatives arrived, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't.

This all happened when the Iron Curtain divided Europe, and the world, into opposing camps. Western diplomats had their countries’ economic interests to consider; but, unlike the Soviet side, they took seriously the idea of "dissidents or trade". I cannot recall any occasion at that time when the West or any of its organisations (Nato or the European Community) issued some public appeal, recommendation or edict stating that some specific group of independently minded people - however defined - were not to be invited to diplomatic parties, celebrations or receptions.

But today this is happening. One of the strongest and most powerful democratic institutions in the world - the EU - has no qualms in making a public promise to the Cuban dictatorship that it will re-institute diplomatic Apartheid. The EU’s embassies in Havana will now craft their guest lists in accordance with the Cuban government’s wishes. The shortsightedness of socialist Prime Minister José Zapatero of Spain has prevailed.

Try to imagine what will happen: at each European embassy, someone will be appointed to screen the list, name by name, and assess whether and to what extent the persons in question behave freely or speak out freely in public, to what extent they criticise the regime, or even whether they are former political prisoners.

I can hardly think of a better way for the EU to dishonour the noble ideals of freedom, equality and human rights that the Union espouses; indeed, principles that it reiterates in its new constitutional agreement. To protect European corporations’ profits from their Havana hotels, the Union will cease inviting open-minded people to EU embassies; and we will deduce who they are from the expression on the face of the dictator and his associates. It is hard to imagine a more shameful deal.

Cuba’s dissidents will, of course, happily do without Western cocktail parties and polite conversation at receptions. This persecution will admittedly aggravate their difficult struggle; but they will naturally survive it. The question is whether the EU will survive it.

Today, the EU is dancing to Fidel Castro’s tune. That means that tomorrow it could bid for contracts to build missile bases on the coast of the People’s Republic of China. The following day it could allow its decisions on Chechnya to be dictated by Russian President Vladimir Putin's advisers. Then, for some unknown reason, it could make its assistance to Africa conditional on fraternal ties with the worst African dictators.

Where will it end? The release of Milosevic? Denying a visa to Russian human-rights activist Sergey Kovalyov? An apology to Saddam Hussein? The opening of peace talks with al-Qaeda?

It is suicidal for the EU to draw on Europe’s worst political traditions, the common denominator of which is the idea that evil must be appeased and that the best way to achieve peace is through indifference to the freedom of others.

Just the opposite is true: such policies expose an indifference to one’s own freedom and pave the way for war. After all, Europe is uniting to defend its freedom and values, not to sacrifice them to the ideal of harmonious coexistence with dictators and thus risk gradual infiltration of its soul by the anti-democratic mind-set.

I firmly believe that the new members of the EU will not forget their experience of totalitarianism and non-violent opposition to evil, and that that experience will be reflected in how they behave in EU bodies. Indeed, this could be the best contribution that they can make to the common spiritual, moral and political foundations of a united Europe.


TOPICS: Cuba; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: appeasement; castro; cuba; eu; eussr; havel; relations
I'm glad to see former President Havel is not inactive.

Regards, Ivan


1 posted on 02/05/2005 4:36:48 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: MadIvan

bump


2 posted on 02/05/2005 4:37:30 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: Luis Gonzalez; LadyofShalott; Tolik; mtngrl@vrwc; pax_et_bonum; Alkhin; agrace; lightingguy; ...

Ping!


3 posted on 02/05/2005 4:37:35 PM PST by MadIvan (One blog to bring them all...and in the Darkness bind them: http://www.theringwraith.com/)
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To: MadIvan

Hasn't china effectively done this to Taiwan?


4 posted on 02/05/2005 4:41:27 PM PST by monkeywrench
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To: MadIvan
The appeasement comes from "Old Europe." Its instructive it should come from Spain in particular, the first Western country to surrender to Al Qaeda and now the first EU member state to surrender to Fidel's Communist tyranny. Again, those who can't see the difference between good and evil are worth nothing.

Denny Crane: There are two places to find the truth. First God and then Fox News."

5 posted on 02/05/2005 4:45:44 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

The precedent was set for this with Taiwan.


6 posted on 02/05/2005 4:47:31 PM PST by monkeywrench
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To: MadIvan

Havel is one of the few Europeans who has been willing to stand up a declare what kind of monster Castro really is. Havel was a leader in bringing down the Iron Curtain and a true visionary for the cause of liberty.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1223002/posts


7 posted on 02/05/2005 4:51:43 PM PST by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: MadIvan
Great words from a great man who was a true dissident himself. He's never sold out. The EU is another matter. They're not going to let the suffering of the Cubans, the Zimbabweans, the Chinese, or the Iraqis muck up a good commercial venture. And remember, the chant "no war for oil" these pseudo-moralists prattle about without a bit of concern for the oil profits made by the rapacious Saddam and his allies in France and the UN?
8 posted on 02/05/2005 5:02:20 PM PST by elhombrelibre (Liberalism is proof that intelligent people can ignore as much as the ignorant.)
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To: elhombrelibre
You know what?..Europe makes me PUKE!

The USA spends billions in arms and defense to protect them from the Soviets via NATO, and they respond with gratitude by siding with tyrants (Iraq/Saddam, Cuba/Castro, Iran) as opposed to siding with the U.S.

This 'protective umbrella' has allowed them (Spain / France / EU / etc..) to become spoiled and ungrateful as expressed in their policies towards countries deemed America's enemies (Cuba / Iran / Saddam/Iraq), so... I say let them defend themselves. Pull out of NATO (just to see how quickly they feel exposed to the 'bad guys' in the world and have their own security exposed), and you will see their people topple their governments for taking such foolish positions.

9 posted on 02/05/2005 7:22:46 PM PST by The Bronze Titan
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To: MadIvan

Haven't heard of him in years. A breath of fresh air.


10 posted on 02/05/2005 9:00:31 PM PST by GVnana (If I had a Buckhead moment would I know it?)
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mark


11 posted on 02/05/2005 9:27:14 PM PST by secretagent
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To: MadIvan

Vaclav Havel. How many playwrights can be described as heores proved in liberating strife?


12 posted on 02/05/2005 10:13:17 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (A woman needs abortion like a fish needs a bicycle.)
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To: MadIvan

Oops...make that "heroes proved"


13 posted on 02/05/2005 10:15:19 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (A woman needs abortion like a fish needs a bicycle.)
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