Cuba refuses to apologise for deportation
19 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Cuban ambassador to the Netherlands has refused to apologise after Havana ejected two Dutch MPs and a Spanish politician last week on grounds they intended to meet with opponents of Fidel Castro's regime.
19 October 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Cuban ambassador to the Netherlands has refused to apologise after Havana ejected two Dutch MPs and a Spanish politician last week on grounds they intended to meet with opponents of Fidel Castro's regime.
Called to account for the incident by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Cuban ambassador Elio Rodríguez Perdomo rejected Dutch criticism of the incident on Monday evening. He pointed out that the three politicians had entered Cuba on a tourist visa and were planning to meet with Cuban dissidents.
Democrat D66 leader Boris Dittrich, Christian Democrat CDA MP Kathleen Ferrier and Jorge Moragas, a representative of the Spanish Popular Party, were detained at Havana Airport on Friday night and were then put on an Air France flight back to Europe.
A representative of the Dutch embassy was refused permission to contact the MPs, Dutch public news service NOS reported. A spokesman for Foreign Minister Ben Bot said the refusal was "unusual and unacceptable".
The spokesman also said that the ambassador's explanation — that the two Dutch politicians were being detained in a transit zone between two airplanes where no one is permitted to enter — was insufficient.
Furthermore, the Dutch government impressed upon the ambassador again that it was concerned about the human rights situation in Cuba. The Netherlands is now considering what further action can be taken.
Bilateral measures are a possibility, but the ministry spokesman said the government needed to carefully consider the most effective method to improve the position of political dissidents in Cuba.
He said discussions around the issue will be staged within the European Union in coming weeks.
The Dutch government's position differs from that of Spain, despite the fact that it also demanded answers from the Cuban ambassador in Spain, Isabel Allende, about the incident.
Spain said it will continue with its campaign urging the EU to strengthen ties with Havana. Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said the EU policy which has isolated Cuba has not proven very effective.
He said improved ties with Cuba will have a better chance of success in terms of human rights. Moratinos said efforts have not yet secured the release of all detained dissidents, despite a few successes.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news