Sunday, August 23, 2015

Spain says political opening in Cuba is 'inevitable'

Spain says political opening in Cuba is 'inevitable'
Published: 23 Aug 2015 12:30 GMT+02:00

Political opening in Cuba is "inevitable" although the pace of reform in
the Communist island nation is uncertain, Spain's foreign minister said
in an interview published on Sunday.

"That the economic opening will translate into a political opening is
inevitable," Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told the
conservative daily newspaper ABC.

"Another thing is the speed at which this will take place, and this is
something that depends fundamentally on the regime," he added.

Cuba approved a foreign investment law a year ago, dangling steep tax
cuts and investment security in the hope of luring badly needed capital.

Business interest in Cuba has boomed since December, when the United
States and Cuba announced a historic rapprochement, ending five decades
of enmity between the Cold War foes.

"There will be more information, more people will go to Cuba, more
tourists. And they will go out more, they will travel. As a result, they
will get to know other realities and that will favour a political
opening," the minister said.

The number of Cubans travelling abroad surged by 23.7 percent last year
to 355,000, according to official statistics published earlier this month.

Cuba eased travel restrictions in 2013, allowing Cubans to legally visit
other countries, after being strictly controlled following the Cuban

Garcia-Margallo said there needs to be "national reconciliation,
fundamentally in Cuba and also with Cubans in the diaspora" as well as
an amnesty for dissidents.

"And then there should be democratic elections where everyone is
accommodated," he added.

Four centuries of Spanish colonial rule ended in Cuba in 1898 with the
Spanish-American War, although Spaniards continued to predominate among
the island's wealthy landowners until the 1959 revolution.

Spain is Cuba's third-largest trading partner and its largest European
investor, according to Spain's foreign ministry.

Source: Spain says political opening in Cuba is 'inevitable' - The Local

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