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

  • July 3, 2015 at 1:02 pm
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    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!

  • July 2, 2015 at 7:48 pm
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    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!

  • July 2, 2015 at 9:17 am
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    I’m trying, Moses, but its comparing papayas to guanábanas. These “ex-radicals” (some are not at all) came to Canada due to various circumstances created by Washington’s foreign policies, including poverty, thus they are simply economic migrants; only 3 claimed refugee status, the Californian being one of them. The 2 that were born in Canada know well about discrimination and White Supremacy at home but were never “left-wingers”, just oppressed minorities. None of the imports have become politically involved in anything since coming to Canada or ever except me, of course, however my political involvement has been to support Cuba and to contribute what I can to one of Canada’s 3 main, official, political parties: the NDP. Most of my workers did not know they were “left-wingers” or experienced fair treatment on the job until I showed them my version of “left-winger” by example. I did not “assemble a gaggle of anything, I hired workers to do a job as I could have done in Cuba*, with no other qualifications than Kitchen and/or Retail experience and aptitude.

    * Provided I lived in Cuba and the enterprise met with all due, legal regulations and standards, just like in Canada.

  • July 1, 2015 at 10:34 pm
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    It seems like a pleasant work environment. You have managed to assemble an oddlot of ex-radicals. Now, try to follow me: You would not be allowed to do the same thing in our beloved Cuba. Castro’s thugs would have long been at your door to shut you down if you had assembled a gaggle of ex-rightwingers. That’s what I call freedom.

  • July 1, 2015 at 12:53 pm
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    Moses, there is a gigantic network of enticement to bring human talent to the USA and there is a lot of money in the USA. There is little enticement for me to return to Cuba in my old age, with money to make money or to retire and lord it over my own people who have worked so hard for what little they have. I do not want to be a rich man anywhere, but specially not in Cuba. Here in Canada I can be comfortable without being or feeling guilty for having so much more than everybody else; in fact, by Canadian Standards I fall close to the “poverty line” of $28,000.00 a year once all the dust has settled. Cubans are poor, many rush into the USA as all economic migrants do, to make $ to send home and to build a better life to what they had before, no argument there; but most have family already in the USA and they are going mostly into Miami, a “Cuban-American City”, which is a mirage of a “Brave New Cuba”, though Union City, N.J./NYC and Houston, Texas have large Cuban communities also. Like all Economic Migrants, they plan one day to return home wealthy, buy a big house, a car, a farm, and live happily ever after. Few ever do return, and fewer yet make any real money, but they have more crap and possibilities and less time and social life. What is a “better” life after all is said and done?
    As you can read in my response to Informed Consent, I count with an exciting and eclectic flock who have come together here by chance from places torn by war and ruled by dictatorships and poverty thanks to the foreign policies of the USA government since the end of WW II. Together we have a much “better” social life than most Canadians, and it is pretty bad out there.

  • July 1, 2015 at 11:53 am
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    Give me your address and I’ll send you a dozen; I make a tomatillo salsa we call “Dead Gringo Salsa” and a tomato salsa called “Pancho’s Revenge”, with an actual photo of an armed Pancho Villa on the label. These are my hottest versions; I also make a Cuban BBQ sauce with guava, A Jerk Sauce with pineapples and cloves plus a Mango Chutney, each in 3 levels of piquancy from Not to Hot.

    However, “Communist Salsas” refers more to how I treat my workers: I pay them above the dismal industry standard, I raise their salary by $1.00 every year and I pay them weekly and in cash, I pay for their food and drink at work, I take them home at the end of a shift if I am there and/or give them a transportation allowance ($5.00 daily). I treat them as friends, invite them over for drinks on occasion, hold 2 parties every year (26 of July and Dec 31, the Anniversary of the Revolution) and when I am at work, I work alongside them.
    My eldest daughter married one of them, a skinny, Cuban guy from Arroyo Naranjo and they have given me 2 grandsons so far. Another worker, a Mexican, married my best friend, a FARC veteran, and now she’s gotten her degree, her English, her hero husband and even though she’s now working at her career, we are all still BFF. I employ a 55 year-old South African with mental issues. (Cuito Canaval…) In fact, just to show you how liberal I am, I even let White people work for me! (tongue in cheek) Mr. B. B. came from Ireland during the “Troubles” and we sing Irish rebel songs together; D. is a retired machine-gunner from Serbia and she can beat any of us at arm wrestling and Cy is a Persian who fought Saddam at Koramshar, then fought the Mullahs after. W was born in California and N in the Ukraine. Add M, a Native American (Kispiox) and H, a Chinese-Canadian to complete the crew. So there, you put a crew of Commies together, you treat them with kindness and respect and then you make… ¡Communist Salsa!

  • July 1, 2015 at 12:52 am
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    Going back in history I noticed it is not the ideology that commits genocides and crimes against humanity , it’s more at the collective mentality of the few who managed to control the majority
    At the time in which the Europeans where living in the dark ages , Arabs in Spain maintained a bastion of enlightenment that benefits all of humanity .
    What you see in the Middle East today is the creation of the West , it is all about divide and conquer .
    Human rights is another tool convenient enough to hang around the neck of those that they disagree with .
    The first challenge that any and all establishment , government or religion have to deal with is how to make there population do the things that they wanted them to do .
    An external enemy is one way of doing it , an enemy can be an anyone or any country . In today’s USA Fidel Castro fit the bill he is convenient and nearby .
    American never hesitate to using the worlds ” backyard ” .
    They look at all the Americas as their backyard , not as an equal partners and neighbors , they look at them as a lower form off humanity , what they did in South and Central America is an act of genocide.
    To me the form of government that rules a country is less important then the quality of life they provide to there people.
    If you to believe the American machine and what they say ,for example on President Putin (Putin is guarding his country toward a disaster )
    If you believe that , you are in trouble , The fact that Russians have a better life than most Americans doesn’t get mentioned .
    Keep in mind that Hitler was democratically elected , keep in mind the George Bush Jr was democratically elected ( maybe )
    After all the first thing he had to do is steal the election .
    Both did the same thing , create a problem so they could have their way , and do whatever there evil masters went them to do .
    Yes both of them are nothing more than puppets in the hands of a dark , mysterious , Luciferian ideology , both of them sold their souls .
    Just about every race that achieved power committed atrocities , despite religion or ethnicity .
    The problem with the American establishment , that they are capable of distinguishing between right and wrong and have the power to do good or wrong , yet they choose war and disasters instead of peace and tranquility .
    To stay in power they have to maintain an external enemy and keep there population busy , manufacturing crisis,with total disregard for human life.
    Cuba comes handy after all the first time Americans committed aggression against Cuba was in the Spanish American war , they manufactured the crisis by blowing up their own ship the USS mean . The Americans used Pancho via as an excuse to go to Mexico , the fact that they wanted the Baja Peninsula for the whaling industry does not get mention.It is noteworthy that the same thing happens in the 1967 war between the Arabs and Jews , they allow the Israelis to attack and kill Americans on the USS Liberty , they wanted to blame the attack on Egypt , and go to war so they can occupy the Middle East .
    The same thing happened in The Gulf of Tonkin Incident  , and 911.
    In today’s world one person with one bomb could do as much damage as Alexander the Great did all his life , it is extremely irresponsible to go on doing the same old thing.
    My way or the highway is no longer acceptable, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step ,
    That step should be taken by all of us going toward the halfway point , where we will meet each other , and understand each other .
    No you don’t have to follow my religion, neither I have to follow yours , or believe in my god , neither I have to believe in yours , for both of us too live the way that someone else lives is on the necessary .
    You and I are accepted in the human family as is .
    Peace my brothers and sisters , thank you and have a nice day

  • June 30, 2015 at 8:38 pm
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    You continue to make my point. Of course you have a life well-rooted in Canada. For all of the advantages you would enjoy by living in Cuba, these advantages do not overcome your commitment to your family and your life in Canada. Imagine those Cubans who have equally rooted lives in Cuba and yet leave it all behind, sometimes by a rickety boat, to enjoy the advantages that you can’t seem to live without. Of course you would live like a king in Cuba. Why is that? Because you have $$ that Cubans don’t have. Because you have children and grandchildren to send you all the little crap to make your life a little more pleasant that you can’t buy in Cuba. I will repeat it again : If it was as bad as you claim it is you would find a way to leave. We both know it’s not that bad and it’s still better than Cuba.

  • June 30, 2015 at 8:00 pm
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    What pray tell is a communist salsa, one which is only available to the ruling elite?

  • June 30, 2015 at 2:44 pm
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    You don’t know what you are talking about again; I have 3 grown children and 4 grandsons here, I have a business here (making and selling “Communist” Salsas), my retirement cheque pays all my personal expenses but I have to live here to get it and my locality allows me to sponsor Cuban Artists, and permits me to $upport an art co-op and a synagogue (Jewish Mom) in the interior, and an Afro-Cuban project in Havana. I also spend 2-3 months in Cuba every 2 years, living more comfortable than in Canada, with a cook/cleaner, air-conditioning, lots of social activities, $ for taxis, great food delivered right to the door and terrific human interaction, far above anything here in Canada. If I could, I would, and the $ I made here would make me a very wealthy man in Cuba.
    The USA is a sham, your ideals are monetary, your foreign policy is predatory and you treat your own People like dung (highest rate of incarceration in the world). When you get all that stuff taken care of, come talk to me with suggestions about helping Cuba and our People.

  • June 30, 2015 at 9:50 am
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    If you believe what you write, why don’t you repatriate to Cuba? We both know the answer. You can not live in Cuba as well as you currently live in your present home. Words like NEVER and ALWAYS are difficult to use in everyday life. To accuse the US of never having lived up to our ideals is wrong. I don’t seek “balance” or “proportion” in my criticisms of the Castros. Why should I? Do they apply balance and proportion in their weekly arrests and beatings of the Ladies in White?

  • June 30, 2015 at 8:54 am
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    Right on, man; tell these nay-sayers how we feel about their Human Rights fantasies at home (USA, EU) and about all of the real, world-wide violations by their “friends” (Israel, S.Arabia, Pakistan, India, Egypt, etc…) that they don’t talk about or consider in their diatribes against Cuba. When I look at their hypocrisy, I just wonder if they are “dense”, if they are being paid to write or if they are obsessed/unbalanced or willfully blind.

  • June 30, 2015 at 8:34 am
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    But it’s like the USA has NEVER lived to its “high ideals” (propaganda), and not only with “minorities”, poor whites have no rights; in fact, if you don’t have the $ for a good lawyer and/or there is no camera documenting the scene, you have 0 rights in the USA. About you and “the Castros”, you have written over 4000 opinions in this forum all dead-set against Cuba in general and “the Castros” in particular…Are you kidding me? With all that is going on wrong in your own land, for you to take on Fidel and Raúl in the way you have is not only disproportionate and unbalanced, but it’s obsessive. Do you write against racism in the USA anywhere? There are solid, socialist and humanistic ideals everywhere in Cuba, many more than in the jaded USA, the land of the cynic and the home of the wise guys.

  • June 29, 2015 at 3:14 pm
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    It is NOT me and Cuba. It is me and the Castros. There’s a difference. Do you really see Cuba’s future as “rosy”? Again, this site is called Havana Times. Issues regarding police brutality in the US, and there are many, are better debated elsewhere. Besides, the recent failings of the US to live up to our high ideals do no justify the lack of ideals in Cuba.

  • June 29, 2015 at 12:12 pm
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    What the hell are all your human rights in the USA doing for Tamir Rice, for all the black and brown kids busted, beaten and shot by police, excluded from higher education, good jobs and a successful future for a “dime bag” or “running while black”. You (USA) have ALL the civil rights imaginable and you have the 2nd worst record of upholding them, at least N.Korea makes no claims in this regard like you do, As soon as the relations between Cuba and the USA improve towards “normality”, the overly defensive stand of the Cuban Authorities should ease as we would no longer be facing terrorism and provocations from 150 km away. In any event, I saw the Cuban People defeat Batista’s professional army with Molotov cocktails, I saw them make a Revolution out of nothing but courage. I was witness to their long struggle to defeat the USA aggression, from the Bay of Pigs through the Missile Crisis to the Blockade and subsequent acts of terrorism, Biological Warfare, hostile international campaigns and misinforming propaganda. I saw our People survive the collapse of its entire trading network in one week while under the triple burden of the USA Blockade and the EU turn to the right (sanctions), and not just hold the line but grow from 1994 until today, when our troubles with USA seem to be near the end. New opportunities with China and Russia are also expanding, the future looks rosy again…But, if the changes being implemented in our island were to go against the will of our People, I have complete confidence in Our capability of changing that by whatever means necessary without your malignant diatribe. Do you write against all these problems in your country or what is it with you and Cuba?

  • June 29, 2015 at 6:02 am
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    Stavros Lambrinidis , here is someone whom I categorize as self-appointed righteous. Europeans talk about human rights , where is human rights in Palestine , Zionism have been slaughtering Palestinians for over a hundred years with the blessings of Europeans , the only thing missing in Gaza is the gas chambers , Nazis came and gone in 10 years, Zionism still there in Palestine carrying out a genocide . If you could think of it the Israelis have done it to the Palestinians , from testing a new weapons in Gaza , to butchering and stealing organs from Palestinians , just about every law that came to humanity have been violated by the Israelis , European so cold Human Rights Commission looking in the other directio .

  • June 27, 2015 at 9:04 am
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    In Cuba, even the term “human rights” is considered to be counter-revolutionary. Against that backdrop, the Castros have no interest in improving their human rights profile. Talks with the EU are likely intended to simply put on a show that allows Castro sycophants in Europe and elsewhere the political cover to say that Cuba is trying to improve their Human Rights image.

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