Skip to comments.Castro Insults Bush
Posted on 02/21/2005 4:49:26 PM PST by wagglebee
With the European Union agreeing on January 31 to lift the sanctions that it imposed on Cuba in 2003 after Fidel Castro imprisoned 75 political dissidents, European officials will be resuming their visits to the island.
Spain's government pushed for the policy switch that critics have labeled a victory for appeasement. Cuban dissidents and exiles, Spanish opposition parties, human rights organizations and former Czech President Vaclav Havel have denounced the new policy as an abomination.
Still, in foreign affairs as complicated as those involving Cuba, there are rarely any clear-cut victories. Madrid's proposal triggered a welcome and enlightening debate on the nature of Castro's rule and EU responsibility vis a vis Cuba. Havel's principled stand provided new perspectives on the issues, and the actual change was less than Castro expected.
Dissidents Not Invited
If Spanish President Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero believed that the EU following its traditional deference to Madrid on Cuba matters would go along without raising any eyebrows, he was sorely disappointed. It took months of meetings among the EU's Latin American experts, a heated debate among European governments and a gathering of foreign ministers to achieve consensus for a policy change.
Let us review the changes:
* The EU will no longer invite the dissidents to National Day celebrations (invitations were suspended last December), but it also vowed to "develop more intense relations with [Cuba's] peaceful political opposition through more regular dialogue."
* High-level diplomatic contacts will resume with the Castro regime, but the EU restrictions denying Castro tens of millions of euros in foreign aid are still in force.
* The new policy will be revisited in July.
* The change places Madrid and Havana under the glare of international scrutiny. Will Madrid be able to extract concessions from Castro with its newly acquired leverage, in light of a new call by the EU for the "urgent" and "unconditional" release of all Cuban political prisoners?
The Czechs believe that the new policy restores the situation to what it was before the sanctions were imposed, i.e., each nation deciding on its own whom to invite to its embassy in Havana. Others suggest the existence of a "gentlemen's agreement" to proceed in concert. If that were the case, Prague responds, the Czech government would have vetoed the accord.
The debate is heating up. The European Parliament opposes making concessions to Castro. European newspapers are critical of the new arrangement. Havel has called on Europeans to defend their democratic values and not to side with dictators. And Spanish public opinion is divided. The Zapatero government has put itself in the unenviable position of having to insist that it has not yielded to Castro's blackmail and that supporters of democracy will see tangible results from the new policy.
In a few weeks, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, where European democracies have always voted to condemn Castro's human rights record.
Cuban dissidents have announced that they will gather in Havana on May 20, Cuba's Independence Day. Will the regime permit the meeting? Will it round them up and jail them? In either eventuality, what will be the position of Madrid and the EU?
Castro Insults Bush
It is sometimes necessary to repeat the obvious: There is no substitute for U.S. leadership. President Bush has reaffirmed clearly America's commitment to freedom around the world. Castro's pejorative response was to say that Bush looks "deranged."
Castro also angrily accused Europeans of treating Havana "as if we were condemned to a death sentence" and said: "[The world is] observing our behavior, Cuba doesn't need the United States, it doesn't need Europe. Cuba doesn't need any assistance."
Castro's disregard of human rights and callous indifference to the plight of the Cubans suggest that, aside from occasional diplomatic gestures, there will be no offers of assistance.
There have been ten Presidents of the United States since Castro took power -- what I want to know is when are we going to deal with this murdering communist dictator less than 100 miles from our shores?
Castro is going to work himself into a heart attack. Can't wait.
I wonder how small he feels knowing that Saddam was a bigger threat than he ever was.
Ahh, must be ronery like Kim.
"Fidellllll....Fidellllll...this is Yassir calling to you from Hell...wish you were here....come join us, Hitler and Stalin send their regards....fire your food taster....dare W to bomb your house and always use the same cell phone...come into the dark Fidelllll..."
We still have people down there awaiting President Kennedy's word on the Bay of Pigs invasion. :) HA!
That's certainly a relief.
If Castro really wanted to insult Bush, he would have complimented him.
Sadly, those swimming through sharks to escape DO need assistance.
Die already, Fidel.
How is this news?
"Castro Does Something Useful" <-- that would be news
(and yes, I consider dying useful in his case)
Next headline: "Castro Is A Dictator"
"Cuba doesn't need the United States, it doesn't need Europe. Cuba doesn't need any assistance."
So why get all worked up about it Fidel? Everything's wonderful in your fantasyland. Be happy.
Never. We may deal with his successor, but not him. Realistically, he's only a minor annoyance. He's no strategic threat.
Let me see, who is on the human rights commission? Kadaffi, Mugaby, North Korea.......
It sure would be nice if some of those Cubans got a backbone and went after him. But I guess that if you've lived with him for 50 years, you're not likely to suddenly realize what a piece of crap he is. And you're not likely to risk your life to take him out, when he's about to meet his maker in any event.
LOL, that may not be that far-fetched!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.