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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.”

__________________

01-03-2015The Cuba Deal: How Raúl Castro Duped Obama. By Néstor T. Carbonell.
28-02-2015New Electoral Law: New Wine in Old Wineskins? By Miriam Celaya.
26-02-2015Venezuela Breaks Down in Tears. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
26-02-2015Are There Reasons to be Hopeful in Cuba? By Veronica Vega. HT.
25-02-2015Six Issues the U.S. Should Not Concede to Cuba During Normalization Talks. By Ana Quintana.
24-02-2015Venezuela and Cuba: Partners in repression. Washington Post Editorial.
23-02-2015Will 'Emperor' Maduro get New Clothes after All?  By VenEconomy. LAHT.
22-02-2015Courting the Castros. Washington Post editorial.
21-02-2015Maduro Does Not Know How to Govern. "I never thought I'd get to say this, but Venezuela is worse than Cuba." By Yoani Sánchez.
21-02-2015International SOS reports: Cuba is not the medical paradise advertised, but considered a high risk nation for visitors. By Noah Rothman.
21-02-2015Cuba's hidden tax on workers mocks socialist ideals. By Barry Wood.
20-02-2015Musings of a Blind Man (1) By Ángel Santiesteban from prison in Havana.
20-02-2015Not Gone with the Venezuelan Revolution. By VenEconomy. LAHT. 
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17-02-2015Venezuela: Coup warning? By Gerver Torres. 14ymedio.
17-02-2015Cuba: My State of Conflict. By Elinor Robin. HP.
16-02-2015The Truth About Tourist Apartheid in Cuba. By Kim-Marie Evans.
15-02-2015Corruption, the Cancer of Cuban Public Transportation. By Ernesto Pérez Chang. Cubanet. 
15-02-2015In Cuba, prosperity will require changes to government Control. By Karen DeYoung.
14-02-2015Follow the Trail of Flour. By Orlando Palma. 14ymedio.
14-02-2015Negotiating with Machiavelli. By Reinaldo Escobar.
12-02-2015No cigar just yet: Many obstacles remain before complete normalization with Cuba. Reporter Mia Lobel. Audio.
11-02-2015Groups, States Supported by Cuba Continue to Spread Terror. By Daniel Wiser.
10-02-2015US-Funded News Station Wants to Bring Free Press to Cuba. But Raúl Castro Wants to Shut It Down. By Josh Siegel.
09-02-2015Can Democracy Be Negotiated in Cuba? By José Azel.
09-02-2015How much has the Cuban revolution cost the world? By Carlos Alberto Montanter.
08-02-2015More Questions than Answers at Cuba Hearings. By The Foreign Policy Initiative.
06-02-2015In Cuba, the importance of listening. By Mark P. Lagon.
04-02-2015What Will We Do With the Hope? By Yoani Sanchez.
03-02-2015U.S. outreach to Cuba opens fissures among dissidents. By Karen DeYoung.
01-02-2015Danilo Maldonado El Sexto from the Valle Grande prison: "I live happy because I live without fear." 14ymedio.
01-02-2015In defense of 'white and priviliged' Cuban-Americans. "Memo to Ms. Bardach:  Drop the race card". By Silvio Canto, Jr.
30-01-2015Do Obamas measures promote democratic change on the Island? By Antonio Rodiles.
28-01-2015The Power of Three Democratic Voices. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
27-01-20152015 Partial Elections: an Old Woman Wearing Rouge. By Miriam Celaya.
27-01-2015The Silence of Alan Gross. By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.
27-01-2015Obama's Cuba Talks: Good for PR, Bad for Democracy. By Maria Teresa Romero.
26-01-2015Pardon or Parole? By Jorge Olivera Castillo. Cubalog.eu.
26-01-2015Fugitives facing U.S. fraud charges vulnerable under deal with Cuba. By David Adams.
26-01-2015A few 'problemas' with those U.S.-Cuba talks. By Silvio Canto, Jr.
25-01-2015Deciding the Future of Cuba. By Rogelio Manuel Diaz Moreno.
25-01-2015US Officials Must Keep Their Eyes on the Prize in Cuba. By Rosa Maria Payá.
24-01-2015U.S.-Cuba Talks Recap: Castro Coerces, Obama Acquiesces. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
23-01-2015Senior Cuban Spies Leading "Normalization" Talks With US. By Chris Simmons.
21-01-2015Wrong Diagnosis, Remedies to Tackle the Venezuelan Crisis. By VenEconomy. LAHT.
21-01-2015Warning: The regime in Havana has prepared a new legal trap for Ángel. By the editor of Santiestebans blog. If it were up to them, theyd shoot me. By Ángel Santiesteban from prison in Jaimanita, Havana.
21-01-2015U.S. Sets a Goal in Cuba: Open Internet. By Kejal Vyas.
21-01-2015The State of Obamas Cuba Deal is Clearly Not Strong. By Capitol Hill Cubans.
20-01-2015Talk to Cuba's democracy advocates. By Frank Calzon.
19-01-2015Gratitude. By Miriam Celaya.





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