.- A leading Cuban dissident says the European Union should be firmer in demanding the Castro regime respect human rights on the island, including free elections.
“I think that an attitude at odds with the demands of the Cuban people for freedom – free elections and recognition of their individual and collective rights – definitely isolates Spain and the EU from the Cuban people and puts them more in line with Communist regime,” said Regis Iglesias, spokesman for the Christian Liberation Movement in Cuba.
A former political prisoner himself who is currently in exile in Spain, Iglesias called on the EU to maintain the “common position” taken in 1996 that established that its economic relations with Cuba “would depend on improvements in the area of human right and fundamental freedoms.”
“To abandon the common position when human rights are still not respected in Cuba, when peaceful dissidents are imprisoned and even killed, is a very grave error,” he told CNA. “It would totally be the wrong message for the EU to send to Cuba.”
“Respect for human rights must be demanded, but also followed up with the holding of free elections, as more than 70 organizations in Cuba have requested in the declaration El Camino del Pueblo,” Iglesias added.
He noted that in addition to the more than 70 organizations that the support El Camino del Pueblo – which was started by the late dissident Oswaldo Paya – “There are more than 25,000 Cubans who have called for a referendum and the regime has simply ignored it.”
“The European Union should demand this of the Cuban regime every day: That rights such as freedom of expression be respected, that a referendum and free elections take place, instead of just lamenting the state of human rights in Cuba,” Iglesias said.