Sunday, June 25, 2006

The alliance between the European Union and Bush is pathetic

AS is widely known, in his speech during the High-Level Segment of the new Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 20, our Foreign Minister, Felipe Pérez Roque expressed a resounding condemnation of the growing conspiracy between the United States and the European Union.

Just 24 hours later, the European Union has once again demonstrated its shameful double standard in the area of human rights, and its traditional subordination to the aggressive policies of the United States against the Third World, including Cuba, which is to host the Non-Aligned Movement Summit this September.

On June 21, the annual Transatlantic Summit between the United States and Europe took place in Vienna, and concluded by passing a Final Declaration in which the superpower and its junior ally present a hegemonic, neocolonial, threatening and manipulative vision of the international situation and some 20 mostly Third World countries.

In that declaration, the United States and its European partners once again act as planetary judges and indulge their liking for invading other nations’ sovereignty and dictating policies to a group of countries that, interestingly, are the same as those blacklisted by the U.S. government for years.

What is most scandalous, however, is that the Joint U.S.-European Declaration does not contain the slightest reference to the dramatic situation of the prisoners held by the United States on the illegal Guantánamo naval base, and who are victims of atrocious torture, much less the fact that it is Cuban territory illegally occupied by the U.S. government that should be returned to our country. Or is it that colonialist Europe is thinking about donating it to the United States?

Neither is there mention of the hundreds of “secret flights” used by the United States to transport, drugged and blindfolded, people abducted in other nations and making stopovers in European Union member states with the obvious complicity of their governments.

Leading up to this Summit, European representatives had ardently declared their firm intentions of demanding that Bush shut down the Guantánamo concentration and torture camp, but when he arrived, their enthusiasm disappeared, and it had to be Bush himself who took the initiative to mention it during his press conference. In a sickly-sweet way, Bush stated that he wished to close down the torture center, adding that he shared European concerns, but that everyone would be in danger if he released the abductees, and made no promises whatsoever. The extraordinary European response was that “we should not be naïve in response to the latest threats” of terrorism.

Last year, the European Union blocked the approval by the Human Rights Commission of an investigation into the massive, flagrant and systematic violations of human rights at the Guantánamo naval base.

But what was new at this Summit was that the old policies of subordination and double standard should become an official public EU position.

It was the Summit of just one side of the Atlantic. Europe cowardly ceded in everything and, on the one hand, exposed its subordination, and on the other, its strategic agreement with the United States in the plundering of the billions of human beings who live in Third World countries.

The Declaration’s mention of the so-called Millennium Development Goals is purely rhetorical; they have not been met and they will never be met under the unjust world order that the new document upholds and attempts to highlight. Africa, which merited several pages in the previous Summit, is now excluded. There is a snide reference to the environment, but Europe does not dare to demand that the United States join the Kyoto Protocol.

The single paragraph on Iraq completely omits the war of aggression and occupation in that country, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians as a result of that unjust war, torture and the now well-known fact of how the U.S. people were deceived, along with others in Europe, into unleashing that brutal invasion.

There are several pages regarding the energy question that serve to state that now “energy security” is being sought rather than cooperation, to slip in veiled threats in circumstances in which a war for oil is being waged, and to warn that the market and the agreements contracted with their transnationals are untouchable. There is not one word of acknowledgement of their responsibility in the energy crisis or of any commitment to modify the irrational patterns of consumption that are creating it.

They defend, in the text, the “war against terrorism,” and propose to increase cooperation with the pretext of denying refuge to terrorists, but Europe and Bush have to remain silent about the scandalous sanctuary created by the U.S. president himself for Posada Carriles and anti-Cuba terrorism, and about the abduction of five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters whose sentences were annulled months ago.

Neither do the European representatives dare to condemn the extrajudicial executions carried out in other countries of which Bush publicly boasts, the arbitrary arrests, illegal monitoring of U.S. citizens, or other violations of civil rights.


Cuba, of course, could not fail to be an object of this transatlantic conspiracy. The empire’s pathological obsession with destroying the Cuban Revolution is such that it did not hesitate to commit its European allies to this crusade to a ridiculous extent.

On June 21, for the first time, in a joint document with the United States, the European Union accepted the inclusion of its concern regarding the human rights situation in Cuba, a new, shameful and cynical chapter in its submission to Washington’s dictates.

Obviously, the document does not mention the genocidal U.S. economic, financial and commercial blockade of Cuba, nor its extraterritorial application in Europe via the Helms-Burton Act and others. The EU is thus demonstrating that it lacks the ability to resist U.S. pressure and to articulate its own and independent policy on Cuba.

The European Union is taking this step precisely at a time when the Bush government is intensifying the blockade and its aggression against Cuba, not dismissing the military option, and proclaiming openly that its policy on our country is “regime change.” The European Union should clarify whether or not this means it has decided to join the “Plan Bush” against Cuba, and if now, along with agreeing on its goals, it is also in agreement with the fascist methods being applied under it. Contempt is what both parties deserve from Cuba.

Cuba is not at all surprised by this loss of reservations by a European Union that was rejected by voters in several countries, is suffering a serious crisis of legitimacy and identity, and has never been weaker or more dependent on the United States than it is now, when some of its new members, with frank vocations as satellites — such as the Czech Republic — are working from within at the service of the most spurious interests of the U.S. extreme right and the Miami mafia.

In December 1996, the so-called Common Position was adopted on the initiative of José María Aznar – known as the lapdog of the empire – based on a draft written in English and sent by then- U.S. Undersecretary of Trade Stuart Eizenstat, which conditioned EU relations with Cuba on changing our economic, political and social system.

In April 1997 and in May 1998, the European Union gave in to U.S. pressure and signed two memorandums of understanding, via which it renounced its right to protect its entrepreneurs who wanted to invest in Cuba. On July 20, 2005, it reached an agreement with the United States, in exchange for nothing, to withdraw from a WTO lawsuit against the theft of the Havana Club trademark, despite the damage being caused to a large European company, and renounced any exercise of its rights in that respect in the future.

In 2000 and later in 2003, also under U.S. pressure, the European Union boycotted Cuba’s entry into the Cotonou Agreement, which would have enabled our country to have access to preferential treatment in our trade relations with this bloc.

A few weeks ago, the European Union reached a secret agreement, negotiated in Brussels, via which it promised not to vote for Cuba and to work closely with the United States against our candidacy to the new Human Rights Council, for which Cuba obtained a well-deserved and broad vote, and from which the United States was excluded by refusing to submit itself to an election in which it surely would have been defeated.

Just a few days ago, on June 12, the European foreign ministers, meeting in Luxemburg, assumed U.S. language for the first time regarding the acceleration of a supposed transition in Cuba, and proposed strategies to practically and officially support the counterrevolution organized and paid for by the U.S. Interests Section and government. Once again, they left in suspense the diplomatic sanctions against our country, which they used in 2003 to try to isolate us and which turned out to be a ridiculous failure that led to their suspension the following year, and which they have not had the dignity to acknowledge as an error and definitively eliminate.

The European Union alliance with Bush is pathetic. It does not have the moral authority or ability to dictate conditions or impose decisions on Cuba. The empire itself has not been able to do so. The power of lackeys is very limited.