Christian Leffler. Photo: eeas.europa.eu

HAVANA TIMES — The restoration of relations between Cuba and the United States “changes the context” for conducting talks between Europe and the island to reach a bilateral political dialogue, said Christian Leffler, European External Action Service managing director for the Americas.

“A more active and open US presence can help strengthen the positive environment in our discussions,” noted Leffler, who was the chief EU negotiator in the talks with Cuba, which took place Wednesday and Thursday in Havana.

“US policy has moved a little closer to European policy, one of engagement and support to internal processes in Cuba,” Leffler said at the end of the third round of bilateral meetings.

Leffler added that the goal of the European community partners is to advance a “concrete, constructive and honest dialog, to identify areas of political and economic cooperation.”

He told the press he sees as positive the decision by US President Barack Obama last December 17 to seek rapprochement with Cuba and assessed the new scenario as “changing a policy of confrontation to one of dialogue and involvement.”

The European delegation does not believe the Cuba-US rapprochement will hurt its relations with the island because its links with Cuba go back “decades with an economic presence and cooperation strong enough to maintain itself and further develop.”

Human rights, one of the most sensitive issues in the negotiations, “was deeply discussed,” but without reaching any concrete agreements, leaving the “finding of solutions” for future meetings. The European diplomat noted that on this topic the EU doesn’t want to “impose a model” on Cuba.

Traditionally the European Union includes in its cooperation agreements clauses relating to human rights, whereby the event of non-compliance can lead to the suspension of the agreements signed.

Before the start of negotiations with Cuba, the EU agreed to unlink its “common position” with preconditions, to further progress in the talks.

Since 1996, the EU applies on Cuba the “common position” that links bilateral relations to the situation of human rights on the island.

The European bloc adopted its “common position,” at the insistence of Spain, following the arrest of 75 Cuban dissidents in 2003, who have now been released.

Currently Cuba is the only Latin American country that lacks a comprehensive agreement on political dialogue with the EU. Nonetheless, bilateral agreements exist with 15 of the 28 countries that form the European bloc.

The two-day talks held behind closed doors at the headquarters of the Cuban Foreign Ministry were led by Leffler representing Europe and Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno.

The next round between the two delegations will take place in Brussels later this Spring, although exact dates are still pending.


17 thoughts on “EU-Cuba Negotiations Impacted by Cuba-USA Rapprochement

  • Cuba’s so-called “no party elections” are controlled by the one legal party in Cuba, the Communist Party.

    So when you say you would prefer “no party” elections wherever it is you live (obviously not in Cuba), …what you really mean is a system in which your preferred party, the Communist Party, controls everything.

    That’s not democracy and the voting which occurs does not make it an election. It’s single party rule, a dictatorship, as in Cuba where 2 brothers have ruled the country for 56 years. Recall that Fidel Castro promised multi-party elections while he was fighting against Batista. After gaining power, several times during 1959 he again promised free and democratic multi-party elections “next year”. Yet when the next year came, the elections were cancelled and political parties other than the Communist Party were banned.

    In democracy, every adult citizen gets to vote for the candidates, parties and policies they prefer. The resulting governments thus formed are compromises of the various interest groups and parties. Nobody gets everything they want, and nobody is completely neglected. Governments change regularly as the political winds shift directions. It’s a messy and imperfect system, but it is still far better than all the other systems.

    I have noticed that among Leftists, there is a common misunderstanding of what democracy means. Leftists believe it should mean their policies and only their policies win everything. Anything less than that, any compromise with other points of view, is a failure of democracy. That’s why Leftists insist the only “true democracy” is a dictatorship which enforces their ideology on everybody.

    I’m not sure if that misunderstanding is dues to a lack of education or if it is a psychological defect. I suspect the latter. Either way, it’s a good reason never to trust a Leftist and their utopian delusions which lead inevitably to the Gulag and the Killing Fields.

    Here is a real Cuban writing about her opinion of the fraudulent elections in Cuba:

    http://translatingcuba.com/by-a-secret-and-direct-ballot-yoani-sanchez/

  • It isn’t true. I have many friends inside Cuba (real Cubans) and while they admit their are problems, its nothing near to what the USA media puts out!!! That travel site was spot on on the government in Cuba and very detailed.

  • Well that explains it. Your getting your information from a Cuban travel site out of British Colombia. I on the other hand experienced the reality…..I’m Cuban. So don’t presume to tell me what is and isn’t true.

  • I prefer no party elections like they have in Cuba! We know the USA wants the Cubans to have multiparty so they can bankroll who they want in power as has been the case in Latin America throughout history!!!! Now I’m not saying that the Cuban system is perfect but that’s for them to decide and no one outside Cuba has the right to tell them how to rum their country. Cuban exiles don’t have that right either!! The Cuban system has been evolving since 1959 and it will continue to evolve but it will do so without foreign interference. The Cuban Revolution has beat the odds and it has a lot of achievements to point to. Cuba will change (evolve) with time, but it will do it on its own accord and without diminishing all that it has fought to achieve!!!

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