Spain snubs Cuban dissidents on National Day

4th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

4 October 2007, MADRID -(AFP) - Spain will not invite Cuban dissidents to its national day festivities in Havana this month in order to prevent any possible damage to its ongoing dialogue with the Cuban regime, officials said.

4 October 2007

MADRID -(AFP) - Spain will not invite Cuban dissidents to its national day festivities in Havana this month in order to prevent any possible damage to its ongoing dialogue with the Cuban regime, officials said.

Spain began inviting Cuban dissidents to its embassy's October 12 national day party in Havana after Cuba jailed 75 dissidents and executed three others who tried to hijack a boat to escape the island in 2003.

The move was part of a series of political and diplomatic sanctions which the European Union imposed on Cuba in reaction to the arrests and executions.

But since the sanctions were suspended at Spain's urging in 2005, Madrid has entered into a new phase of dialogue with Cuba and the practice of inviting the dissidents has been dropped, Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratino said.

"We have had success with the dialogue over human rights and concrete results. Political prisoners are free to walk the streets, we have the capacity to intervene and we are promoting the interests of our country," he told parliament.

Moratinos visited Havana in April to sign an agreement to renew cooperation without conditions.

The visit was the first by an EU foreign minister since 2003 and it drew sharp criticism from Washington which has a policy of isolating Cuba and its ailing President Fidel Castro.

Spain is Cuba's third-biggest trading partner and is a major investor in the island nation, especially in its tourism sector.

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Subject: Spanish news

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