Write us!

June 2003 • Vol 3, No. 6 •

EU Aids US Embargo of Cuba

Statement by MINREX

Cuba desires ever-widening relations with the European Union, but they must be based on mutual respect.

The Cuban government has been obliged to once again withdraw its application to join the Cotonou Agreement regulating economic cooperation relations between the European Union (EU) and the 79 countries that make up the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP).

This decision is Cuba’s response to the one adopted by the European Commission on April 30 to indefinitely postpone the evaluation of the Cuban application that the Commission should have presented to the Council of Ministers of the 15 countries of the European Union, under the pretext of European disagreement with the just sentence imposed by the Cuban courts on mercenaries collaborating with the U.S. government and the hijackers of the Baraguá ferry. In practice, the decision leaves Cuba’s application in limbo and is an attempt to exert pressure on our country by establishing unacceptable conditions and adopting a position of interference in Cuban internal affairs. According to the spokesman for Chris Patten, the European commissioner for external relations, while the situation remains the same, the Commission will clearly have no reason to change its decision.

The first time that Cuba applied for inclusion in the Cotonou Agreement was on March 10, 2000. This was in response to interests of solidarity from the Caribbean countries that were urging Cuba to join in a fraternal gesture of friendship that our country will always appreciate, because they believed that it would aid Cuba’s integration into the Caribbean and improve the framework of relations with the European Union. Cuba was not pursuing access quotas to the European market or additional cooperation resources from the Union—which are, moreover, scant—but was fully aware that its entry would in no way affect the legitimate interests of its Caribbean sister nations. It was exclusively the interest of responding to the support of the Caribbean countries initially and then the ACP Group as a whole that led Cuba to apply for adherence.

However, this application was frustrated when Cuba was obliged to withdraw it due to the fact that various European Union members, headed by the Spanish government of José Maria Aznar and the British government, attempted to establish additional and discriminatory requirements for Cuba. In addition, they wanted to carry out an inspection of our country prior to our entry.

On the other hand, the decision-making system in force in European Union, that requires the unanimous vote of the 15 member countries, made it easier for a small group of countries opposed to Cuba’s entry from the outset, to achieve their objective.

For their part, the countries making up the African, Caribbean and Pacific group, headed by the Caribbean nations, have invariably supported our country and additionally, in a truly exceptional act, decided to make Cuba a full member of the ACP, despite it not being a signatory to the Cotonou Agreement. Cuba will never forget that at every international forum, the Caribbean countries have always raised their voices against the blockade and anti-Cuban aggression and in favor of our right to independence.

For all these reasons, and also in response to the diverse European countries that have expressed support for us, urging us to apply for inclusion once again; likewise, in this context, taking into account the positive position maintained by European Commissioner Poul Nielson who visited our country to inaugurate the European Union embassy in Havana; and as an expression of our will to develop relations with the European Union, Cuba made a second attempt and once again applied for entry into the agreement on January 8, 2003.

However, the unfair and unacceptable statement issued by the Council of Ministers of the European Union, the European Union’s shameful alignment with the frustrated U.S. attempt to achieve the condemnation of Cuba at the Human Rights Commission, and the timorous decision of the European to indefinitely postpone consideration of Cuba’s application, has convinced the Cuban government that the conditions do not exist to maintain the application for entry into the Cotonou Agreement, and in the next few days will complete the relevant procedures to make that decision effective.

In making this decision, Cuba has not overlooked the fact that, in the wake of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a unipolar world, plus the difficult years during which, moreover, Cuba has had to put up with an intensification of the blockade to which it is subjected by the hegemonic superpower, the European Union has been incapable of adopting its own policy on Cuba, based on Europe’s real interests.

To confirm this, it is sufficient to read the document titled “A common European Union position on Cuba,” an interventionist text that Aznar’s government imposed on its community partners at the urging of the United States. We recall the inexplicable European reaction to the Helms-Burton Act when, instead of leading the international rejection of a U.S. law in violation of its rights, it preferred to reach a so-called understanding between the European Union and the United States, in a shameful page of community foreign policy.

Cuba wishes ever-widening relations with the European Union, with which it shares profound historical and cultural links, from which countries it receives almost one million tourists, and with which members it has trade relations worth almost $1.9 billion dollars per year, but such relations must be based on mutual respect, on non-interference in internal affairs and the recognition of the right of each party to freely elect its economic and social system, institutions and laws.

The recent European Union decisions on Cuba obviate the unquestionable fact that within a strict framework of respect for its laws, Cuba has been obliged to adopt decisions to confront a plan to provoke a military confrontation with the United States, precisely after the aggression against and occupation of Iraq, in which, clearly, certain of the most fervent European critics of Cuba were the accomplices of the U.S. “hawks” behind the backs of their people and European Union decisions. Moreover, they are feigning ignorance of the fact that Cuba is confronting an attempt to make it yield by force and that the government harassing our country is aspiring to impose a world fascist dictatorship on the rest of the world, including the European nations.

If the representatives of the European Union had lived under a blockade that has already lasted more than 44 years and had had to suffer, like us, aggressions, armed invasions, terrorist attacks, plots to assassinate their leaders, and a brutal campaign of discredit and lies, maybe they would better understand the injustice being committed against Cuba by the European Union.

Cuba has resisted more than 44 years of blockade, aggressions and threats from the United States without yielding, and does not see any reason to accept pressure from any other nation whatsoever.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Granma, May 17, 2003





Write us