World » Americas
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Cuba marches against EU

In a risky bid, President Fidel Castro led one million people protest in front of European embassies in Havana
After the EU decided to revise the common position of the bloc toward the Island on June 5th, Cuban leaders Thursday headed a massive mobilization in front of the Italian and the Spanish embassies. President Fidel Castro, himself, led the marches in his traditional olive green uniform, waving Cuban flags. Demonstrators carried pictures of the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the Spanish head of Government Jose Maria Azanar, chanting "down with fascism".

Demonstrations came only one day after the Cuban Foreign Ministry issued a declaration, in which described EU position as "provocation or blackmail", something that Cuba would not tolerate. Thursday mobilizations in Havana remind those organized to protest against US policy toward the Island. The EU decided to limit high-level bilateral government visits, reduce cultural exchanges, invite dissidents to organized European national ceremonies, and revise the common position of the bloc toward the Island.

European governments said their position responds to the sentencing of 75 dissidents, and the execution of three Cuban citizens that kidnapped a ferry in an unsuccessful attempt to reach US territory. Intellectuals from all over the world had also criticized Havana's crackdown over dissidents. Cuba says, in turn, that those decisions were adopted to put an end to a US operation intended to justify a military invasion into the Caribbean Island.

Cuba considers that the EU declaration was an "attempt to undermine Cuba's sovereignty". According to the Cuban official news agency Prensa Latina, Fidel Castro Wednesday evening considered the document "weighty, but useless" and the measures taken by the EU as "insolent".

Cuba's official response to EU measures were transmitted by nation's Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, through a TV statement. Perez Roque remarked that Havana did not recognize EU moral authority to condemn her, and much less to impose a threatening ultimatum regarding relations and cooperation.

This last point is critical for the economic survival of the island. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and as a consequence of the 40-year US blockade, Europe became the only source of foreign investing into the Island. Also, the EU acted as a balance of power within the United Nations Human Rights Committee, where the US repeatedly pushes forward condemning resolutions against Castro's regime.