Eu-Cuba: the European resolution and the Ecr denunciation of the regime

Politics - September 10, 2023

On last 12th July 2023, the European Parliament approved a resolution regarding the regime of Cuba. This resolution concerns the current situation in Cuba and EU-Cuba relations, including in light of the High Representative’s visit to the island.

The relations between the European Union and the government of Cuba are marked by numerous dialogue agreements. Just to name a few we can mention the report are the so-called ADPC (Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement) dating back to 2016; the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the 1984 UN Convention against Torture and Other Punishment.

However, it is necessary to remember what the real situation is on the island of Cuba.

In fact, Cuba’s current conditions are far apart from the values and principles pursued by the European Union. The island is facing a general crisis, which affects society in many ways, from the economic to that of people’s freedoms. In addition, the current migration situation should also be mentioned, as the migration exodus in the recent period has reached unprecedented levels. Last year, about 250,000 people left the island.

Among the main causes of migration is certainly the island’s economic situation, which is facing one of its worst crises since the post-fall of the USSR in the 1990s. Some of the consequences of this difficult situation also involve galloping inflation, and lack of supplies, medicine and gasoline.

At the same time, the deterioration of the island’s power system causes continuous blackouts even at peak times. This energy crisis has continued since 2022, to the point where a large part of the country has been affected by blackouts that have reached twelve hours daily.

Another major problem plaguing the Cuban reality concerns racism. A problem, this one, that appears far from being resolved and that exacerbates the conflict within society itself.

This whole series of problematic issues makes the Cuban context difficult to live with and complex from the point of view of international relations. Especially considering the fact that the democratic aspect is practically nonexistent in Cuba’s political and social life. Which makes not only life within the island difficult, but also relations between Cuba and other countries around the world.

Returning to the analysis of what is contained in the European report, it shows how, despite the fact that the ADPC is still in force, the Cuban regime continues to disregard the principles of democracy and respect contained therein, perpetuating a violation of human rights for decades. In its report, the European Union condemns in the strongest terms the systematic human rights violations and abuses carried out by the Cuban regime against protesters, political dissidents, religious leaders, human rights activists and independent artists, among others. At the same time, the EU urges the Cuban authorities to immediately end the policy of repression and condemns the lack of religious freedom in Cuba. In addition to all this, there is also the dramatic condition whereby unfortunately, despite international efforts, the situation in Cuba has not produced any improvement, but rather progressively worsening.

The crucial point in international relations, not only between the EU and Cuba, is precisely respect for human rights. From the EU side, the European Parliament has repeatedly asked Cuba to put in place reforms aimed at normalizing the social, political and economic environment. But no positive outcome has emerged from these requests.

Nor does the recent visit to the island by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, appear to have brought any benefit. That visit, indeed, seems to have somehow justified what has been going on in Cuba for some time, and indeed, declaring himself opposed to the U.S. decision to put the island on the list of countries sponsoring terrorism. An event this, which is certainly not new, so much so that it was back in 1982 that Cuba was placed on the U.S. ‘blacklist,’ only to be removed by Barack Obama’s presidency in 2015, and re-entered in 2021 before the end of Donald Trump’s term. With respect to that visit ECR Shadow rapporteur Herman Tertsch spoke, affirming that, “The resolution is a further step toward ending the intolerable complicity of the European Union, and in particular its High Representative, Josep Borrell, with the Cuban dictatorship.”

The cause of this difficult bilateral relations between Cuba and the U.S. has very deep roots in time, but the fact that these two governments have not been able to reach an agreement also stems from the difficult situation from which the island is unable to rise again.

Then, to exacerbate this complex geopolitical picture, the war in Russia has also intervened. The conflict, although geographically distant, nevertheless also involved the Cuban regime. And in fact, it is well known how Putin has a privileged relationship with the island, so much so that it was the Cuban president himself, Miguel Díaz-Canel, in 2022 who defended Vladimir Putin’s actions, even attacking the U.S. and NATO and pointing to them as the main authors of the war in Ukraine. Therefore, the resolution also reiterated its condemnation of the Cuban regime for its defense of and support for Russia’s and Belarus’ acts of aggression.

All this considered, it seems clear that a transformation within the island is very complex to achieve, and it is difficult to think that even substantial aid (here, reference is made to the millions of euros promised by the EU for small and medium-sized businesses in Cuba) can bring a sense of sanity to an environment that has long been plagued by multiple problems.

In this sense, the European Parliament resolution seeks to condemn all actions that have led to the current economic, social and human rights crisis that is plaguing the island and its entire population and beyond. “The European Parliament has firmly and consistently condemned human rights violations and atrocities committed by the Cuban communist regime”, said ECR Group Foreign Affairs Coordinator Anna Fotyga.

On this issue, also the ECR shadow rapporteur Herman Tertsch wanted to highlight as following: “The European Union has to change its attitude towards the Cuban government and help to end this regime that is incompetent in everything except crime. The Cuban communists, like communists all over the world, will hopefully end up in the dustbin of history as wretches, murderers and failures. And with them their accomplices in the democracies of America and Europe, who have caused so much damage and pain to the Cuban people in these 64 years.”

It is therefore essential that progress be made in the area of human rights, first and foremost, and that a condition of equality and tranquility be restored in economic, social and political terms. It is unacceptable for the European Union to support a regime that not only fails to protect the people living on the island, but also fails to respect international treaties and supports (more or less implicitly) Russia and its aggression against Ukraine.

The condemnation against Cuba and the actions implemented by the government must receive firm denunciation. The European Union cannot share the approach of a regime that systematically and continuously violates people’s rights, derogating from what is laid down in official documents and agreements, effectively distancing itself from any possibility of equal dialogue and cooperation.

The conservative right wing of the European Union, and the ECR party in particular, will continue to strongly reiterate how the Cuban regime should not be supported, until all the necessary conditions are in place to create a political dialogue based on common and shared principles and values, and will continue to firmly condemn any action that would undermine respect for human rights, which, as affirmed by international law itself, have a universal, inviolable and inalienable character.