The European Parliament voted Wednesday in favor of the first European Union trade and dialogue agreement with Cuba, promising to “expand bilateral trade, promote dialogue and economic cooperation, and provide for joint action on the world scene,” reports suggest:
The vote in the Strasbourg, France, legislature was 567-65 in favor of the deal, with 31 abstentions. The statement added that the parliament opposed “laws and measures with extraterritorial effect” as “harmful to the Cuban population,” although it did not specifically mention the United States’ embargo of Cuba. The agreement urges Cuba, though, to bring its human rights policies in line with international standards.
Some parliamentarians raised concerns about the Communist regime’s human rights record., but the non-binding resolution urged the EU to assist “the economic and political transition in Cuba” including towards “democratic standards.”
The announcement followed reports that the regime this week arrested over 50 Ladies in White activists, holding them incommunicado.
The EU-Cuba deal was denounced as “a betrayal of the Cuban people, putting European profits over Europe’s historic commitment to freedom” by Frank Calzon of the Center for a Free Cuba.
“No matter what any European diplomats or business leaders say, the Europeans are returning to a failed policy of making non-binding resolutions without conditioning trade or other relations with the Castro dynasty on evidence Cuba is willing to respect human rights, the rule of law and civil liberties,” he said.
Amnesty International has called for urgent action on behalf of former prisoners of conscience and siblings Anairis Mirando Leyva, Adairis Miranda Leyva and Fidel Manuel Leyva, currently intimidated by the authorities in Cuba.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation will be taking a historic photo – ¡No Che! Noche – on the steps of the United States Capitol facing the Library of Congress, setting the record straight on Che Guevara and honoring slain dissident leader Oswaldo Payá, a true Cuba hero.
Wednesday, July 19th 6:30 PM United States Capitol, East Steps First Street NW and East Capitol Street NW Click here to RSVP