Med anledning av det samarbetsavtal som EU just nu håller på att teckna arrangerade den tyska kristdemokraten Reimer Böge ett seminarium om EU:s relationer med landet.
Jag höll följande anförande:
Thank you Chairman, thank you Mr Böge for initiating this important seminar.
Let me start by asserting that the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement is a great opportunity to bring hope to a nation in need of freedom and democracy.
A nation ruled by a communist regime, which for long time had suppressed its own people, and gravely violated fundamental human rights.
We all know that the European Union could be an important international actor.
We have a unique negotiating position – but also a moral obligation to stand up for oppressed and victimized peoples.
The PDCA gives the European Union a possibility to recover the unsatisfactory Cuba-agreement from 1996.
However, normalizing relationships with dictatorships might be complicated, such processes need to include conditions for reform and respect for human rights.
Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case with Cuba.
The PDCA establishes a dialogue on human rights, but no specific demands on the regime is presented by the Commission.
Therefor the agreement, in its current outline, risks becoming another diplomatic victory for the Cuban regime.
To no surprise, the political opposition in Cuba has advised the European Parliament not to support the treaty.
Most reports from human rights organizations confirm an escalating persecution following the death of Fidel Castro.
+ The political grip are tightening; arrests are made without sufficient judicial procedures.
+ Opposition candidates in local elections are not accepted, every candidacy might be disregarded before it is even published.
+ The leading Cuban opposition leader Eduardo Cardet, party chair of the Christian Democrats, has recently been arrested and sentenced to three years in prison.
As indicated here today, it is of utmost importance that the European Union is continuing mounting pressure on the Havana regime.
We need to conclude an agreement with Cuba – but the shortcomings of the PDCA and the lack of conditionality is a major concern.
Therefore, it is important that the Parliament, together with as many member states as possible, maintain the human rights requirements at the very heart of the discussion.
The Swedish Christian Democrats, which I represent, has a long-standing relation to the Cuban opposition.
Together with our friends in the Christian Democratic party of Cuba, we have worked extensively to reveal human rights abuses and lack of freedom – politically we have confronted the regime.
I tell you this because the firm position of my party, and myself, is that the Commission should have pushed harder for human rights, before signing the PDCA.
Until the Cuban government has released political prisoners and have given the civil organizations a chance to participate in processing the agreement, we will follow the advice of the opposition and vote no to the agreement.
With this said; let us together continue our efforts to push for a free Cuba.
In today’s seminar, we have had the opportunity to start an important dialogue, and it is promising for the future.
Regardless of the PDCA, many with me are convinced that democracy and human rights will conquer the oppression of communism.
Thank you for listening.