Borrell in Cuba: human rights talks planned
Dhe EU Foreign Representative Josep Borrell exchanged views with representatives of the Cuban government on the relations between the Caribbean state and the European Union in Havana. Among other things, a visit by the EU human rights commissioner Eamon Gilmore to the Cuban capital in November for talks on human rights was agreed, as Borrell announced on Friday.
At the start of his three-day visit, the Spaniard spoke to representatives of small and medium-sized companies on Thursday. These have only been permitted in the socialist one-party state for less than two years. Borrell also met with representatives of European companies. The EU is Cuba’s most important trade and investment partner, he emphasized on Twitter. Cooperation with the EU is important for the modernization of the Cuban economy.
Dissidents took to social media to urge Borrell to address the fate of more than 1,000 detainees, who activists describe as political prisoners. The majority of them had been sentenced to long prison terms in some cases for taking part in peaceful demonstrations in July 2021. Last year Borrell had on behalf of the EU Cuba asked for their release. In a letter, seven human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, called on him to prioritize the “human rights crisis” there in the talks in Cuba. According to activists, more than ten prisoners recently went on a hunger strike.
The meeting between representatives of the EU and the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the third meeting of the so-called Joint EU-Cuba Council. This emerged from an agreement on political dialogue and cooperation from 2017. Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez canceled his participation at short notice due to illness.