Expatica news

Spanish gov to meet Cuban dissidents for talks

18 June 2007

MADRID –  Foreign Ministry officials are to meet with representatives of Cuban dissident groups living in Spain this week to discuss the government’s policy toward the communist-run island.

The meeting is to take place Tuesday at the ministry’s headquarters in Madrid, the national news agency Efe said.

At least three dissident groups are to attend, the agency added.

The meeting is to discuss Spain’s stance toward Cuba since Fidel Castro announced last July that he had undergone emergency intestinal surgery and was stepping aside in favor of a government headed by his brother Raul, the 76-year-old defense minister.

Calls to the ministry Saturday for comment on the report went unanswered.

Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos met with Cuban authorities during a visit to the island in April. His decision not to meet dissidents there drew criticism from several quarters, including the United States.

During a visit to Spain earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice chided Spain for doing business with Castro while not working more to support dissidents.

Moratinos replied that engagement was the best way to influence Castro’s regime. Ministry officials say there has been frequent contact with dissident groups since the Socialist government took office in 2004.

The EU imposed sanctions on Cuba in 2003 after authorities detained 75 dissidents accused of working with the United States to undermine the Castro government.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news