Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cuba opposition veteran slams EU accord plan

Agence France-PresseApril 23, 2013 13:46

Cuba opposition veteran slams EU accord plan

Veteran Cuban dissident Elizardo Sanchez urged the European Union on
Tuesday not to sign a new bilateral agreement with his country's
leaders, saying their recent reforms were "cosmetic" amid persistent
human rights abuses.

"I have a mandate to express my concern over the possibility of the
Cuban government getting its way and managing to sign a preferential
bilateral agreement with the European Union when it does not merit it,"
he said in Madrid.

EU foreign ministers in November called for negotiations to normalise
relations with the government of President Raul Castro.

The current EU position on Cuba demands democratic and rights reforms
before normalising ties with the island.

The president has introduced some reforms since taking over from his
brother Fidel in 2008, releasing political prisoners and allowing
dissidents to travel abroad.

Sanchez, leader of the Cuban Human Rights Commission, a campaign group,
said that softening the EU position would be "an economic victory for
the regime which would enable the government to have more resources to
further repress the people".

He lamented the human rights situation in Cuba.

"The totalitarian regime violates and continues to violate these rights,
while giving out false signs of change to deceive the international
community," he said.


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