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Raúl Castro Avoids the Ibero-American Summit in Cadiz. By Yoani Sánchez.
  
18-11-2012

web/folder.asp?folderID=215

Raul Castro Avoids the Ibero-American Summit in Cadiz
By Yoani Sanchez
Translating Cuba
November 17, 2012
 

Cadiz. Source itelf.net

People visiting Havana for the first time agree on the similarities of this city with Cadiz. The cultural similarities and certain visual resemblances tie the Cuban capital to its Andalusian first cousin. The presence of the sea, some of the architectural style, and the open behavior of its people, complete the embrace.

But not even this closeness has moved Raul Castro to participate in the XXII Ibero-American summit that began November 16 in this Spanish town. The Cuban leader preferred to send his Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez.

Raul Castro travels little and when he does he prefers politically like-minded countries. Venezuela, Russia, China and Vietnam are among his few destinations since he assumed the office of the presidency in February 2008. His absence in Cadiz was expected, as he has never gone to any Ibero-American summits in other countries. Perhaps he prefers to avoid possible critiques of the state of Human Rights on the Island.

But the General is just one among many absent from this meeting. His counterpart Hugo Chavez also will not attend, nor will the Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who has offered the excuse of health problems. The recent earthquake in Guatemala has prevented the trip of Otto Perez-Molina, while the Paraguayan Federico Franco has excluded himself given his strained relations with his Latin American neighbors. So many empty chairs has robbed some of the luster from an event that for several years now has captured less and less interest in the region.

Leaders at the Cadiz Summit. Raul Castro is not in the picture. Source: The Summit’s website.

The main theme of this Ibero-American Summit deals with the world economic situation and ways to cope. Cuba has not escaped the red ink. A year is ending in which Raul Castro’s reforms have failed to boost the productivity of the country as was hoped. Not even the relaxations in the rules governing self-employment have resulted in an improvement over Cubans’ deteriorating standard of living.

To top it off, hurricane Sandy damaged more than 137,000 homes — wholly or partially — in the east of the Island. Thousands of homeless and a delicate epidemiological situation, complete the picture.

Nor has foreign investment taken off on the island, although the large number of guests at the last International Fair of Havana (FIHAV) might make one think otherwise. The international crisis and businesses’ lack of confidence in the Cuban “opening,” are among the reasons for the slowness with which that sector is moving. Everywhere we look we see the country’s urgent need for fresh, new and convertible capital.

The Carromero Case

Beyond Raul Castro’s absence at the Cadiz Summit, the most conspicuous issue that touches the Cuban side seems to be that of the Spaniard Angel Carromero. Detained in Cuba since July 22, this young leader of the Popular Party’s New Generations, was driving the car that killed regime opponents Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero. A court has convicted Carromero of “involuntary manslaughter,” though Payá’s family is still demanding an independent investigation.

The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Manuel García-Margallo, said on Friday that Havana will consider a “formal request” from Madrid asking for the return of Angel Carromero. “The Government has put forward a formal request. The Cuban government has promised that it will consider it,” Garcia Margallo said in an interview with Cadena Ser, in response to a question about whether he had discussed the issue with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, who arrived in Cadiz on Thursday.

And Human Rights?

Last week the Cuban opposition experienced days of vertigo from an escalation of arrests. On Wednesday, November 7, the independent attorney Yaremis Flores, 29, was arrested outside her home in Havana. Dozens of opponents gathered peacefully outside several police stations to demand her release.

State Security responded with a heavy hand, leading more than thirty of these dissidents to the dungeons. Among them were several former prisoners of the Black Spring of 2003 and the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize winner, journalist Guillermo Fariñas.

Antonio Rodiles, who at age 40 is the director of a political-cultural project called Estado de SATS (State of SATS), remains behind bars.

And all this happened a few days after the foreign ministers of the European Union (EU) in Brussels discussed the possibility of promoting a new relationship with Cuba.

Relations between the EU and the government of Havana are currently limited by the so-called Common Position, adopted by the EU in 1996 at the initiative of the Spanish government of José María Aznar.  The Common Position conditions any progress in relations on improvements in the situation of human rights on the Island.

With respect to this, García-Margallo said that “necessary and sufficient conditions” do not exist to modify the Europe’s Common Position with regards to the largest of the Antilles, however he allowed as how, within this Common Position, “there is room for a flexible interpretation” that allows “reaching an agreement of cooperation with Cuba.”

__________________

03-05-2015Cuba and the difficult change ahead. By Abdulrahman al-Rashed.
03-05-2015A Flooded May Day in Havana. By Yoani Sanchez.
01-05-2015Eduardo Galeanos Last Embrace. By Ángel Santiesteban from prison in Havana. 
01-05-2015The Magicians of Empty Text. By Ángel Santiesteban from prison in Havana.
30-04-2015Clandestine Arms Shipment Arrives in Cuba. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
28-04-2015The Internet: A Space for Diversity and Freedom of Expression. By Ernesto Pérez Chang. Cubanet.
28-04-2015Take Cuba off the State Sponsors of Terrorism List? By George Phillips.
27-04-2015Pope Francis will have unusual clout in Cuba. By Andres Oppenheimer. MH.
27-04-2015May Day in Cuba and an Offended Journalist. By Rogelio Manuel Diaz Moreno. HT.
26-04-2015Raul Castro and the 'Cargo Cult'. By José Azel.
25-04-2015The Bullies That Castro Sent to Panama. By Ángel Santiesteban Prats from prison in Havana.
24-04-2015Maduro's "Plan for the Economic Counteroffensive" to do Nothing for Venezuela's Battered Economy. By VenEconomy.
22-04-2015Obama Tries to Put a New Collar on the Same Dog. By Ángel Santiesteban-Prats from prison in Havana.
22-04-2015Liberty before profit for Cuba. By Tom Wrobleski.  
21-04-2015In the elections held for the Municipal Assemblies more than 1.7 million people didn't vote, annulled their ballot, or left it blank. A force for change. By Yoani Sanchez.
21-04-2015The vote of inertia. By Eliecer Ávila. 14ymedio.
20-04-2015My Political Stance. By Verónica Vega. HT.
20-04-2015Who Are the "Rich Cubans" ? By Miriam Celaya.
19-04-2015Where Does U.S. Policy Toward Cuba Go From Here? By José Cardenas.
18-04-2015A Million Fines for May Day? The Ups and Downs of Self-Employment in Cuba. By Alejandro Rodríguez Rodriguez. HT/Café Fuerte.
18-04-2015The Un-Mannered Summit. By Beatrice E. Rangel. LAHT.
18-04-2015Obama Is Using Cuba To Counter Russia, Iran, And China's Growing Influence In Latin America. By Andrés Serbin and Andrei Serbin Pont.
17-04-2015Cuba and Terrorism. By Elliott Abrams.
17-04-2015"We need the bike taxi to survive, but licenses are no longer granted or renewed." By Frank Correa.
16-04-2015Raúl Castro, what are you plotting? By the Editor of Ángel Santiesteban's blog.
16-04-2015The Latin-America I Acknowlege. By Miriam Celaya.
16-04-2015Obama's Wrong: Cuba Belongs on the Terrorism List. By Joseph Humire.
15-04-2015Speaking of Legitimacy. By Fernando Damaso.
15-04-2015Is Cuba ready to come in from the cold? By Robin Guittard, Amnesty International.
15-04-2015Statement on Obamas Removal of Cuba From the Terrorism List. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
13-04-2015And So It Begins, For Cuba's Civil Society. By Carmen Pelaez.
13-04-2015Hysteria in Panama. By Fernando Damaso.
13-04-2015Ask the People. By Rosa Maria Payá.
12-04-2015Cuban 'Festival' in Panama: Representatives of the Cuban regime shed their lamb skins and turned into a real pack of wolves. By Fernando Dámaso. + video.
10-04-2015Cuban pro-freedom resistance needs U.S. support. By Christy Stutzman.
08-04-2015Mr. Obama's opportunity in Panama. Editorial The Washington Post.
07-04-2015Committees for the Defense of the Revolution and Citizen Participation. By Martha Beatriz Roque. Cubanet.
07-04-2015Dialogue or Monologue. By Fernando Dámaso.
07-04-2015Cuba Props Up Venezuelan Strongman. By Matias Ilivitzky.
06-04-2015Obama Rehabilitates the Castro Brothers. By Mary Anastasia O'Grady. WSJ.
03-04-2015Diplomacy, yes. Democracy, what for? By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
02-04-2015Since the Mariel Exodus the state terrorist 'acts of repudiation' are still practiced, especially against the Ladies in White and UNPACU. By Roberto Jesus Quinones.
01-04-2015The Curse of the Cursed. By Yoani Sánchez.
31-03-2015Cuba Reserved Its Telecommunications Industry for the United States. By Isbel Diaz Torres. HT.
31-03-2015Cuba Flips the Script on Obama -- Again. Capitol Hill Cubans.
30-03-2015In Venezuela Elections, Too Many Dead Vote. By Andres Oppenheimer. LAHT.
29-03-2015Those Who Are Leaving Venezuela. By Caridad. HT.
29-03-2015Liberated Cuban prisoners to Obama: No more deals like the one that freed us! By Patrick Symmes.
29-03-2015The Stuff Being Swept under the Carpet of Socialist Venezuela. By VenEconomy. LAHT. 
28-03-2015From Havana to Tehran. By Jaime Suchlicki.





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