Cuban dissidents condemn Spanish dialogue with Castro
18 October 2004, MADRID - Representatives of Cuban dissident groups called for talks with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos Monday and handed in a petition blasting Spain for its "wrongheaded" attempt to foster dialogue with the regime of President Fidel Castro.
18 October 2004
MADRID - Representatives of Cuban dissident groups called for talks with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos Monday and handed in a petition blasting Spain for its "wrongheaded" attempt to foster dialogue with the regime of President Fidel Castro.
"We respectfully call on you to listen to us before carrying on in a direction we believe is wrongheaded," the dissidents said in a statement issued by the "Cuba, democracy now" pressure group whose chairman Rigoberto Carcellier Ibarra handed the petition to a foreign ministry official.
In a copy of the petition the dissidents said they "do not understand the proposal of the Spanish government towards the transition to democracy in Cuba."
Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is seeking to improve relations with Havana, but dissidents have slammed the move.
In addition, the EU last year brought diplomatic sanctions against Havana after Cuban courts passed death sentences on three Cubans for attempting to flee to the United States and handed down heavy jail sentences to 75 dissidents.
Spanish-Cuban relations took a turn for the worse Saturday when the Cuban authorities expelled a Spanish conservative lawmaker and two Dutch deputies who had travelled to Havana to meet dissidents.
Spanish-based Cuban dissidents said the expulsions proved that "there can be no dialogue with Castro, so the Spanish government's policy is a failure."
Cuba expelled Jorge Moragas, external relations spokesman of the rightwing opposition Popular Party (PP), and Dutch colleagues Boris Dittrich and
Kathleen Ferrier and described the visits as "crude political provocation."
Cuba accused Moragas of seeking to enter the country to offer "support and solidarity" to US-backed dissidents.
Madrid condemned the expulsions as "unacceptable" and summoned Cuban ambassador to Spain, Isabel Allende.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news