Hon. Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos
Foreign Minister of Spain
Spain is beginning its rotating EU presidency and you, its foreign minister, have said that you will do everything possible for the “normalization” of relations with Cuba. These are the good intentions of the socialist government of Spain. And no one judges the intentions, as the Latin proverb says.
I want to talk about to events with which Cuba inaugurated 2010.
On January 4 Luis Ñáñez, Member of the European Parliament for the Spanish Socialist Party was expelled from Havana’s José Martí airport. He had a tourist visa.
Another event that started in 2009 but continues, is the “corralito” of the funds of foreign companies by the Cuban government which has frozen their bank deposits. Spain has more than 200 employers and over 400 million dollars locked up in this way.
The Spanish daily El Pais published, at the beginning of 2010, an editorial titled “Cuba in bankruptcy.” The Spanish foreign ministry has called its ambassador in Havana back to Madrid “for consultations.”
I think that you, Mr. Foreign Minister of Spain, will have serious difficulties explaining to your countrymen, even those of the PSOE, how you intend to “normalize” political relations with a country who grants a tourist visa to a Member of the European Parliament and sends him back from the airport as soon as he arrives. How can you “normalize” economic and commercial relations with a country that “freezes,” sine die, the money of his country’s business people, and in addition, in his year-end speech the president of Cuba announced that the negotiations over these frozen funds “would depend on the economic situation in the Island,” while at the same time a left-leaning newspaper in Spain recognized that Cuba is bankrupt?
One last question, Mr. Moratinos, and given your role in the European Union which Spain presides over this term, for me this is the most important question:
How will you “normalize” relations with a government which systematically violates the human rights of its citizens and also violates those of Spanish citizens, be they Members of the European Parliament or small business people?
A few months ago you gave us to understand that the first thing was to “normalize” and if, to accomplish that, you had to postpone the issue of human rights, so be it. Then, I would like to ask you, with all due respect, why don’t you postpone the rights of Spanish business people and Parliamentarians? Or are the rights of Spaniards above the human rights of Cubans?
Mr. Chancellor: I know, Human Rights are universal, equal for all, and a priority in all international relations that would be modern and acceptable.
Or is it different in Spain? As it is in Cuba.
I express my best wishes for your high responsibility while I repeat my most fervent desire that a day is not far off for true normalization of relations between Cuba and Spain.
Director of Coexistence Magazine