News and Facts about Cuba

EU condemns Cuba for rights violations

Posted on Thursday, 03.11.10
EU condemns Cuba for rights violations
The Associated Press

STRASBOURG, — The European Parliament voted Thursday to condemn
Cuba for the "avoidable and cruel" death of a hunger striker,
earning a stinging response from Havana, which said it did not
appreciate the lecture and would not respond to international pressure.

The European assembly called on Cuba to immediately release its
political prisoners and urged Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign and
security affairs chief, to push the totalitarian, Communist-run island
toward a peaceful transition to multiparty democracy.

The vote, adopted 509-30 with 14 abstentions, follows the Feb. 23 death
of jailed Cuban dissident Orlando Tamayo, who succumbed after an
83-day hunger strike.

Another opposition member, freelance Guillermo Farinas, has
been on his own hunger strike since Feb. 24. Farinas says he will
continue the protest until his death, unless Cuban Raul
Castro's government agrees to release 26 ailing political prisoners.

The EU parliament said it was particularly concerned about Farinas,
calling his condition "alarming."

"We cannot afford another death in Cuba. We call for the immediate
release of all political prisoners," Jerzy Buzek, the president of the
European assembly, said.

Buzek said Cuba has ignored appeals for increased democracy from around
the world.

The Caribbean island has been ruled by brothers Fidel and
since they ousted Fulgencio Batista in 1959. There are some 200
political prisoners in Cuban jails, according to groups.

"We need action," said Buzek. "The Cuban government must respect
fundamental freedoms, especially the of expression and political
association. must also be respected."

Cuba, which had hoped for improved relations with Europe following
Spain's ascension to the EU presidency in January, blasted the EU vote
as hypocritical and wrong.

"Following a sullied debate, the European Parliament has just passed a
condemnation resolution against our country, manipulating sentiments,
distorting facts, deceiving people and obscuring reality," Cuba's
National Parliament declared in a statement later Thursday.

"Cubans find it offensive this attempt at teaching us lessons," the
parliamentary declaration continued.

It said Europe was in no position to Cuba given Europe's poor
treatment of immigrants and the unemployed and its alleged complicity
with America's treatment of al-Qaida terror suspects.

Cuba "rejects impositions, intolerance and pressure" from abroad, the
Cuban parliament statement said.

The Cuban government considers the dissidents to be paid stooges of
Washington, and says most – including both Zapata Tamayo and Farinas –
are common criminals.

In Brazil, presidential spokesman Marcelo Baumbach said Thursday the
government had received a letter from imprisoned Cuban dissidents asking
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to intercede with Raul Castro to
revise their sentences.

Baumbach said Silva had not read the letter. It was unclear when the
letter arrived.

The five-page letter was signed by 50 Cuban dissidents who asked for
Silva's help in get their sentences reduced.

Baumbach confirmed receipt of the letter two days after Silva told the
AP: "I don't think a hunger strike can be used as a pretext for human
rights to free people. Imagine if all the criminals in Sao Paulo entered
into hunger strikes to demand freedom."

EU condemns Cuba for rights violations – Latest News – MiamiHerald.com
(11 March 2010)
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/03/11/1524294/eu-condemns-cuba-for-rights-violations.html

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