Cuba-EU Began the Long and Winding Road on Discussing Human Rights

By Progreso Weekly

Pedro Nuñez Mosquera represented Cuba at the talks on human rights.
Pedro Nuñez Mosquera represented Cuba at the talks on human rights.

HAVANA TIMES — Delegates from Cuba and the European Union met in Brussels on Thursday (June 25) to discuss the EU’s concerns about the observance of human rights in Cuba in the context of the EU’s “common position” toward the island.

The meeting was described by the EU as its first High-Level Human Rights Dialogue meeting with Cuba. The EU was represented by its Special Representative on Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, and Cuba by the Director-General of the Cuban Ministry for Multilateral Issues and International Law of Foreign Affairs, Pedro Núñez Mosquera.

A statement released by the EU after the meeting described it as “a frank and respectful preliminary exchange on issues of substance, with a view to build trust, enhance mutual understanding and develop cooperation.”

In diplomatic parlance, a “frank” encounter is a blunt exchange of views, so “frank and respectful” could be interpreted as blunt but polite.

The EU’s “common position” on Cuba, as stated in 1996, aims “to encourage a process of [Cuban] transition to pluralist democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as a sustainable recovery and improvement in the living standards of the Cuban people. […]

“The [EU] considers that full cooperation with Cuba will depend upon improvements in human rights and political freedom,” the position statement adds.

Stavros Lambrinidis represented the European Union.
Stavros Lambrinidis represented the European Union.

The press release (see below) issued Thursday states that “among the issues discussed [by Lambrinidis and Núñez] were gender and violence against women, children’s rights, sustainable development in the context of the post-2015 agenda, health, education, freedom of expression and association, migration and rule of law.”

In a press release prior to the meeting, the EU’s External Action Service recalled that, during a formal dialogue on April 22, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez “agreed on starting to work towards establishing a structured EU-Cuba Human Rights Dialogue.” (Both appear in photo at top.)

Lambrinidis and Núñez agreed on Thursday that the dialogue should take place on an annual basis and “should cover all human rights issues brought to the table by any of the parties.”

On June 10, Mogherini met in Brussels with Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel in the course of the summit between the EU and CELAC, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

That meeting was held in private.

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PRESS RELEASE

First EU-Cuba high level human rights dialogue meeting on 25th June

Cuba and the EU.  Graphic: trabajadores.cu
Cuba and the EU. Graphic: trabajadores.cu

On 25th June, the EU and Cuba held their first human rights dialogue meeting in Brussels.

The EU delegation was headed by EU Special Representative on Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis. Director General for Multilateral Issues and International Law of the Cuban Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Mr Pedro Nuñez Mosquera, represented the Cuban side.

The discussions focused on the modalities for the pursuit of this dialogue, to be based on universal human rights standards, including its objectives, principles, format and procedures. Both sides agreed on the objectives for the dialogue of improving mutual understanding on human rights issues, exchanging experiences and best practices as well as seeking to identify potential areas of cooperation between the EU and Cuba. They agreed that dialogue should, in principle, take place on an annual basis. It should cover all human rights issues brought to the table by any of the parties.

Both sides also exchanged views on the basic human rights principles, such as universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights, as well as the role of UN bodies on human rights and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council.

The EU and Cuba also addressed subjects of mutual interest in order to identify potential areas for future discussion and cooperation, both bilateral and in the context of multilateral fora. Among the issues discussed were gender and violence against women, children’s rights, sustainable development in the context of the post-2015 agenda, health, education, freedom of expression and association, migration and rule of law.

The talks demonstrated the commitment of the EU and Cuba to deepen their relations in order to support respect for human rights. They allowed for a frank and respectful preliminary exchange on issues of substance with a view to build trust, enhance mutual understanding and develop cooperation.


17 thoughts on “Cuba-EU Began the Long and Winding Road on Discussing Human Rights

  • No, what I see is the most stereotypical and contemptuous example of a foreigner who is not privy to our historical experience having the hubris to think they know what is wrong with our Cuba and how to fix it. Now, that is arrogance and conceit, and may you say the same thing to me next time I talk about what is wrong with Scotland and how to fix it; but I have no plans to move to that barren and rainy place ever. I am however used to this type of outrage coming from Europeans and their descendants around the world because they believe their own propaganda about the superiority of their ideas over ours and how they can “fix It”.
    I make no monetary boast, what I make is not a fortune by any stretch of the imagination, and I choose to live in Canada because, like I said before, I do not want to be a rich man anywhere and particularly not in Cuba where what I make would be a large amount of $ by comparison to the average person; it would not, in my esteem, be fair to me or to my People. I enjoy my country when I go and I am generous with those around me. In our culture a man close to 70 does not do house work or cook, relatives do that for him. Since I have no relatives left on the Island, I pay to have it done because I have no other option except to do it myself. If I was to wash, clean, cook and run to the store, my neighbors and friends would accuse me of being a “tight-wad”; being a Scot you must be familiar with that stereotype.
    I am disabled so I take taxis here also when not driving for some reason so stick that up your pipe and smoke it. I have no other way to get around, and most of the time I walk to the corner take a collective taxi, I never said anything about “particular”, but you did.
    Food comes to everybody’s door in Cuba, street vendors still ply our cities and towns selling fresh produce, cut flowers, bread and home-made food products. So I’m not “privileged” any more than anyone by having this door service either. I do have more money than the common person, so I spread it around and that is just what is expected of me in my culture. Get it, Sunshine?
    Another point you often make and I need to clarify is the value of a salary or pension in Cuba by translating it literally to U$D. But 200 pesos buys you a lot more in Cuba than the $8.00 equivalence in North American value you are trying to make. Is still not a lot of money but far more than you are implying.
    But your intent here is to attack me personally in order to question my credentials, my credibility and distract from the focus of the article about meaningful Human Rights talks between the EU and Cuba leading to the end of sanctions that have further retarded our development. This, like the USA Blockade, is finally coming down and we did not have to surrender our sovereignty to foreign demands.
    Where did you get that I feel superior? I feel like a normal member of my society who has more and therefore has more responsibility to contribute meaningfully to the advancement of my people. I donate regularly to a co-op art studio and gallery in the interior, an Afro-Cuban cultural project in Havana and a synagogue. In all 3 cases, the $ goes directly to the Cuban people involved and not the government. It is you who thinks you can see it all and understand it all and that you are, therefore, superior to the Cuban experts and planners and to the majority of Cubans who still support their Country’s Government. Think and say what you want of me but you can’t argue with History. We have endured thanks to Fidel and Raúl Castro!

  • If you were in Cuba, your “retirement cheque’ would be $8 – 200 pesos per month! – Could you meet all your personal expenses on that?
    The money you boast about has been earned in Canada and yet you dare to suggest that it would make you a rich man in Cuba and that because of it you can live in Cuba with a cook/cleaner, air conditioner, taxis, food delivered to your door.
    The level of conceit and arrogance is there for all to behold! You enjoy having cheap service and living based upon Castro induced poverty of the Cuban people, you enjoy being able to travel in cheap Taxi-particulars. You enjoy feeling superior because with your Canadian earned dollars earned under the capitalist system you can flaunt your comparative worth and feel that you are in your proper strata of society. Whereas in Canada you are just ordinary!
    Your boasting Monseigneur Gomezz, does not bring envy or admiration, but justified contempt!

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