Spain slams EU-Cuba policy

Campaign News | Wednesday, 13 October 2004

Madrid to try and mend relations with Cuba

HAVANA - Spain's new ambassador to Cuba has criticised the European Union's policy toward the island and said Madrid is to work to thaw relations with the Cuban government.

But Ambassador Carlos Alonso Zaldivar indicated that Spain would not break with the EU's common position on Cuba, which is based on human rights concerns.

"Unfortunately, the current situation of relations between Cuba and Spain, and between Cuba and the European Union, is profoundly unsatisfactory," Zaldivar said in a speech at a diplomatic reception celebrating Spain's national day on Tuesday.

"We want to overcome the present situation, but we want to do that in agreement with the rest of the EU," he said.

Zaldivar regretted the absence of Cuban government officials at the party, which was attended by dozens of so-called dissidents and wives of political prisoners.

Havana froze ties with EU diplomats last year in response to the Europeans' decison to invite so-called dissidents to parties at their embassies.

In June last year, Brussels decided to invite leading dissidents to EU national day receptions. Cuban officials walked out and never returned in what has been dubbed the "cocktail war."

Foreign ministry doors remain closed to EU diplomats and their calls are seldom returned.

It is widely known yet seldom admitted in the European media that the so-called dissidents are US-paid agents seeking to subvert its socialist society.

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