Borrell defends the active presence of the European Union and its human rights agenda in Cuba

The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Joseph Borrell, in Havana this Friday.Poole (Reuters)

The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Joseph Borrell, reiterated his strategic commitment in Havana this Friday. In the face of US embargo policy. Borrell announced an “important” visit by the EU’s special representative for human rights, Eamon Gilmore, at the end of November after concluding the third Joint Council held as part of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between Cuba and the European Union. The concrete results of his visit, he said, were “the beginning of a new cycle of dialogue” between Brussels and Havana.

“We cannot ignore the fact that we have differences of opinion on various issues […], but the European Union does not have the ability or the desire to impose changes on Cuba, but we want to have a dialogue framework that allows us to talk about everything that unites us and divides us without barriers or obstacles, “said the president. European diplomacy, contrary to Washington’s policy of pressure, with Cuba is “constructive” and the same. Clearly betting on a “critical” commitment at the time. He referred to his historic 2016 speech by US President Barack Obama in Havana, quoting his words: “The embargo is harmful to the Cuban people and will not help create the political changes that are being sought. “”.

“Obama said it, and I think so,” Borrell said, recalling the EU’s vote every year at the UN against the embargo. He also criticized Donald Trump’s inclusion of Cuba in the list of countries that support terrorism, from which the Biden administration has not removed it, pointing out that it “causes severe and unjustified problems for the development of economic activity.” Island.” “. The embargo, he opined, “makes living conditions difficult for Cubans and undermines the necessary process of reform and modernization.”

Support for Cuban positions on the issue, important to the government in Havana, was combined by Porrel with a fiery defense of the European Union’s democratic values ​​and its conception of human rights, in which there were apparently many differences with Cuba. The EU High Representative for Foreign Policy referred to civil rights and the right to demonstrate, and he addressed the issue of “the situation created before, during and after the mass protests of July 11, 2021” in conversations with his colleagues. After that hundreds of people were arrested and sentenced. “That’s what Eamonn Gilmour will be talking about when he comes to the human rights talks in November,” he said. In a “respectful” conversation with Cuba, Borrell noted another “difference” that separates him from Havana, asking for Cuba’s support in the war in Ukraine, which now heads the island’s 77 and China’s critical group and has a special responsibility. in the multilateral sphere”.

For the EU, he said, it is important to explain its view on the conflict, as the Community Federation hopes to “count” Cuba to “encourage respect” for “Ukraine’s sovereignty”. Since the beginning of the war, the Cuban government has avoided talk of an invasion, supporting the position that the United States and NATO played a key role in the origin of the conflict, subscribing to Russian positions, although abstaining from votes. Most of the resolutions put forward by Moscow at the UN In this sense, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Anaenci Rodriguez, who accompanied Boral after the bilateral meeting, argued that his country advocates a “serious diplomatic solution” and opposes economic sanctions against Russia. He added that “history will hold America accountable” for “military doctrine outside NATO’s borders”.

Borrell, who during his stay on the island held meetings with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Prime Minister Manuel Mario, returned on Friday to support more than 700 European companies currently working on the island. The crisis was severe, and he strongly supported the growing private sector and new small- and medium-sized Cuban enterprises, which he observed “have been growing very rapidly since their creation was approved.” The European Union’s mission, he said, “is to help improve Cuba’s capacities to become key factors in its economic and social development.” Reforms and society from a relationship of mutual respect, with no other purpose than to contribute to improving the lives of Cuban citizens.

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