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EU lifts Cuba sanctions

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The EU officially lifted its sanctions on Cuba Monday in the hope of encouraging democracy on the island in the post-Fidel Castro era, in a move decried by Washington and Cuban dissidents.

"The problems that came up during the day have been resolved. The decision has been adopted," a spokesman for the current Slovenian presidency of the bloc said, referring to a procedural error that had briefly delayed the move.

The measure was a largely symbolic political step as the European Union sanctions have been suspended since 2005. It was championed by Spain, which normalized relations with Cuba last year.

The political decision was taken by EU foreign ministers at a meeting last Thursday but the move received formal endorsement at a meeting of European agriculture ministers in Luxembourg.

Earlier, the wrong version of the text for the decision was presented, causing a delay, the Slovenian spokesman said. The Swedish delegation noticed that an annex with conditions on the lifting of the sanctions was missing.

Among the conditions tied to the lifting of the sanctions, which restricted high-level diplomatic contacts, is a clause obliging the EU to review the human rights situation in the communist-ruled island yearly.

The sanctions were applied in 2003 after a crackdown on dissidents in Cuba under its former president Fidel Castro, whose brother Raul formally took over this year.

Twenty of the 75 dissidents jailed in that crackdown have since been freed.

Washington said last week it was "disappointed" by the EU decision to lift sanctions against what it views as a repressive dictatorship.

"We think the Castros need to take a number of steps to improve the human rights conditions for ordinary Cubans before any sanctions are lifted," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

Leading Cuban dissidents also expressed disappointment, fearing further crackdowns.

"We are going to expect horrible things to happen to the opposition," said Martha Beatriz Roque, one of the released dissidents.

With the sanctions in place, "the government was tremendously aggressive with us and with the people -- now that (the sanctions) have been eliminated, their aggression will double."

© Wire reports

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

17 Comments
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Thanks EU!

Did you ever consider helping those who have been hurt by the regime? No. Of course not. They aren't anti-US.

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US lifting NK sanctions (very soon) and EU lifts Cuba sanctions... both are equally good or equally bad !

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The US Cuba's economic integration both to improve the sorry lot of Cubans and because it will tend to undermine the Castro brothers' authoritarian regime.

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Oops - I had intended for my post above to begin: "The US should support Cuba's economic integration...

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Great news for Cuba/EU joint ventures boom in Cuba.

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Well, I'm glad they lifted their sanctions. Didn't help anybody and maybe this will start a new era of friendship.

Isn't everybody glad for this? < :-)

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Washington said last week it was “disappointed” by the EU decision to lift sanctions against what it views as a repressive dictatorship. “We think the Castros need to take a number of steps to improve the human rights conditions for ordinary Cubans before any sanctions are lifted,” National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

Repressive dictatorship; improve human rights. How many more regimes have been in place for decades all over the world? If there were any consistency in US foreign policies I would agree with him (Gordon)/them (US government).

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Is there really that much difference between Cuba and the US anyway? So Cuba has sham elections. What do you call it when there are two parties with almost identical policies and funded by the same big business groups (who will only support the parties that support big business)? Where voting for a 3rd party is throwing your vote away. There's no proportional representation or preferential voting.

Censorship? Anything that is actually newsworthy never makes the news in the US, thanks to the big media conglomorates. It's all disasters and fluff.

Repression? Can gays get married in the US? Only in California. Can blacks get houses in rich suburbs? I don't think so.

So why pick on Cuba so much? It's 1000 times better than Burma or Indonesia was under Suharto. The only problem is it is not capitalist, meaning that US businesses can't just move it, buy everything, and turn the country into a sweatshop for Nike shoes.

They also have free, universal, high quality health care!

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Is there really much difference between Cuba and the EU?

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A good move by the EU. The more Cuba is opened to outside influences, the more likely there will be change.

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Cuba has been opened to the world since many decades, except for Americans. Many of my friends had their vacation there, especially in the area of Varadero. Luxurious hotels face to the ocean looks just like Cancun, and for sure, it’s better than Miami. (I’ve been to Miami twice, many hotels are getting old there… and the beaches are not very attractive.) It’s true, the Cuban regime is not democratic, but at the same time, it’s not very strict as how it used to be in USSR. Only the government and the rich business people can get the wealth while the ordinary people stay poor… just like in China, India, or many other countries, even in the US. I don’t know what this “EU sanctions” against Cuba was. I myself had some contact with Cuban companies for business trade few years ago. (At the end I didn’t make the deal, but it was not their fault.) I think those “sanctions” are hypocrisy. A government trades with a rogue country if there are the political or economic interests. (US trade with Saudi Arabia, China, and Israel etc…) And often, those sanctions help the country’s government to make even more money. (Like Saddam used to do)

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while many of you who have nothing to do with Cuba celebrate, take notice what the Cuba government did immiately after the anoucement of this "The Cuban regime freed in the early hours Saturday the opposition members arrested hours after the European Union, or EU, raised its sanctions against the island's government thanks to the progress it perceived being made in the field of human rights." Wow, make a step in the right direction and who was this field ref?

Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, known as "Antunez," his wife Iris Perez, Idania Yanes, Yesmielena Surbano, Benito Ortega and Blas Fortun were arrested Friday in Matanzas, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Havana, when they had staged a protest in front of the offices of the Interior Ministry.. "

We are talking about a place where level of police can not only arrest you, but sentence you at the same time. Yes, the EU is showing itself to be a great model for the world.

I really can't wait for the EU & US's collapses so we can all go back to having dictatorships such as the Castro hermanos.

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for the Anti-US types out there, did it ever occur to you that one of the reasons for this lifting was due to money that countries like Spain and Germany have had there and they want it back? The US isn't the only sinister guy on the block.

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I don’t know what this “EU sanctions” against Cuba was.

So you're a European who knows about American sanctions in Cuba but not European sanctions in Cuba. Sounds about par for the course.

The sanctions were mostly on a diplomatic level. They didn't really affect businessmen or travelers or anything much for that matter. The EU was careful to demand the release of political prisoners and impose sanctions without really demanding the release of political prisoners or imposing sanctions. Now they've released the paper sanctions and people from the EU can feel proud that they work with Cuba again, unlike their unfriendly neighbor across the Atlantic.

See how that works?

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So you're a European who knows about American sanctions in Cuba but not European sanctions in Cuba. Sounds about par for the course.

I'm not European, and I don't even live in a EU country.

Anyway, as I said, to accept the behavior of Saudi Arabia, Chinese and Israel without problem and sanctioning Cuba because of its dictatorship is a double standard.

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Anyway, as I said, to accept the behavior of Saudi Arabia, Chinese and Israel without problem and sanctioning Cuba because of its dictatorship is a double standard.

Absolutely right. Could the difference be because Cuba is in the US backyard?

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"So you're a European who knows about American sanctions in Cuba but not European sanctions in Cuba. Sounds about par for the course."

No, he's Japanese living in Europe.

Sorry to burst your anti-european bubble there, again.

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