Havana, Cuba, Oct 10, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Several opposition leaders in Cuba are calling on the European Union to demand “significant gestures” from the Castro government, such as the release of political prisoners, before reestablishing bilateral talks.
Oswaldo Paya, one of the most prominent Cuban dissidents, called on the EU to maintain its “common position” of demanding democratic reforms on the island.
“To abandon or weaken the common position would be to abandon the Cuban people and to encourage inconsistency and the violation of their rights,” said Paya, who was given the 2003 Sarajevo Award by the European Parliament for defending civil rights in Cuba.
Likewise, Miriam Leiva, leader of a dissident group known as “Women in White,” an organization of female relatives of imprisoned dissidents in Cuba, said, “The Cuban government must make significant gestures before the EU should decide to restart a political dialogue.”
She made her comments as various European representatives meeting in Brussels are calling for a move towards normalizing relations with the Castro government.