Skip to comments.VACLAV HAVEL: Shameful EU appeasement of Castro puts profit before principle
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 EUs embassies in Havana will now craft their guest lists in accordance with the Cuban governments 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.
Cubas 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 Castros tune. That means that tomorrow it could bid for contracts to build missile bases on the coast of the Peoples 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 Europes 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 ones 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.
Hasn't china effectively done this to Taiwan?
Denny Crane: There are two places to find the truth. First God and then Fox News."
The precedent was set for this with Taiwan.
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.
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.
Haven't heard of him in years. A breath of fresh air.
Vaclav Havel. How many playwrights can be described as heores proved in liberating strife?
Oops...make that "heroes proved"