CubaBrief: EU Parliament condemns Cuba crackdown, calls for Magnitsky sanctions against Castro officials. AMLO embraces Castro dictatorship in a warning to democrats.

The European Parliament on September 16, 2021 condemned the Cuban government crackdown on protests and citizens in Cuba, Havana’s breach of the PDCA, and called for Magnitsky sanctions to be applied against Cuban officials calling for ordering and/or taking part in the violence during the crackdown. The 426 votes in favor of condemning the Cuban government yesterday at the European Parliament for the crackdown that began on July 11, 2021 that continues to the present day is an increase of 29 votes from the previous resolution that was passed on June 10, 2021, and this is a stronger statement.

As time passes, the decision of Lithuania not to ratify the EU Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) with Havana, is increasingly viewed both as a historic act of solidarity with Cubans, and looking out for European interests.

Other EU states who ratified PDCA with the best of intentions ended up providing millions in Euros to the Castro dictatorship that is funding repression of Cuban dissidents, exploitation of Cuban workers, and the destabilization of democracy in Latin America.

The Vice President of the European Parliament Dita Charanzová, took part in the debate and tweeted on the strong message sent by the European Parliament to impose sanctions, and begin the process to suspend the EU-Cuba agreement.

This is a strong message by the 27 nation block.

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On the same day in Mexico, the Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) hosted Cuban dictator Miguel Díaz-Canel at the ceremonies celebrating the 200 anniversary of Mexico’s independence in what columnist Andres Oppenheimer called “a slap in the face of democracy, human rights and Mexico’s dignity,” but that should be a wake up call to Mexican democrats that democracy is in danger in Mexico.

It is important to recall that AMLO repeatedly refused to recognize President Joe Biden’s electoral victory, and when he did in early December it was a cool reception. The Guardian reported that ” Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s president, sent the US president-elect a lukewarm two-page letter which contrasted with the enthusiastic seven-page missive he sent Trump after his own election in 2018.”

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In 1952 Cuba’s young Republic issued commemorative coins to celebrate 50 years of liberty and independence.

Mexico has only been a multiparty democracy since 2000 when 71 years of uninterrupted one party rule ended in Mexico with the presidency of Vicente Fox. It is important to recall that Cuba had nearly 50 years of competitive, democratic rule in the island from 1902 to 1952 with great achievements in the social, economic, and political spheres that did not prevent authoritarianism from overthrowing a democratic government on March 10, 1952, and although promising a return to democracy in 1959, the Castro brothers transitioned Cuba into a communist totalitarian dictatorship for 62 years and counting. The case of Venezuela with Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro backed by the Castro regime should also give Mexican democrats cause for great concern.

The crackdown in Cuba and continuing escalation of repression are giving business investors pause. Jerry Haar a professor of International Business at Florida International University, and a Global Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, wrote in The Miami Herald on September 12th that “for American companies that aspire to do business in Cuba, the recent crackdown by the Cuban government on mass protests now places that hope not on the back burner but off the burner altogether.”

The Castro regime’s president Miguel Díaz-Canel calling for violence in the streets, along with images of unarmed protesters gunned down by regime officials is not an attractive place to do business.

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Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, (age 36) shot in the back by regime officials on July 12, 2021.

Havana officially recognized one Cuban killed on July 12th during the protests, Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, (age 36). He was shot in the back by regime officials on day two of nationwide protests in Cuba. NGOs placed the number at five, but the total number remains unknown. Reports have been received that family members of those killed have been threatened to remain silent. This coincided with press reports that Laurencio Tejeda’s mother, distraught over her son’s death, had committed suicide. Video emerged on July 15th of the aftermath of Diubis being shot in the back and posted over Twitter.

Reuters, September 16, 2021

EU lawmakers call for sanctions on Cuban officials

by Reuters

Thursday, 16 September 2021 14:43 GMT

Sept 16 (Reuters) – The European Parliament called on Thursday on the 27-nation bloc to impose sanctions on those responsible for human rights violations in Cuba after a wave of detentions following anti-government protests on the island in July.

In a resolution in Strasbourg, EU lawmakers condemned violence against protesters, human rights activists, dissidents and opposition leaders in the aftermath of the protests.

Lawmakers voted 426 in favour, 146 against with 115 abstentions.

The resolution is not legally binding but follows years of EU tensions with Havana about Cuba’s human rights record, over which the EU imposed had previously imposed sanctions before lifting them in 2008.

In August, the United States imposed new sanctions on three Cuban officials it said were involved in the suppression of nationwide anti-government protests that began on July 11.

The Cuban government blamed the protests on counter-revolutionaries backed by the United States. (Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Alex Richardson)

The Miami Herald, September 15, 2021

Mexico’s leader will give Cuba’s Díaz-Canel a propaganda boost with red carpet welcome| Opinion

By Andres Oppenheimer Updated September 15, 2021

Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador’s invitation to Cuban dictator Miguel Díaz-Canel to attend Thursday’s ceremonies for the 200 anniversary of Mexico’s independence — and to make a speech at the event — is a slap in the face of democracy, human rights and Mexico’s dignity.

Receiving a red-carpet welcome from Mexico’s president will be a political godsend for the Cuban dictator. Díaz-Canel is a weak, colorless autocrat, who badly needed a propaganda victory at home following the historic July 11 anti-government protests on the island.

Thousands took to the streets to demand fundamental freedoms and food, in the biggest protests in Cuba in recent memory. Nearly 500 Cubans who participated in the July protests are still in jail or under house arrest, and at least 67 of them have been convicted on bogus charges without due process, according to the Human Rights Watch advocacy group.

[ Full article ]

The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2021

Cuba’s Old Republic Outshines Colonialism and Castroism

The island’s democratic period (1902-1952) saw impressive achievements.

Sept. 13, 2021 6:45 pm ET

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Cuban teachers studying at Harvard University in the early 20th centuryPhoto: Harvard University Archives

Felipe Fernández-Armesto’s review of “Cuba: An American History” by Ada Ferrer (Bookshelf, Sept. 4) offers insights into Cuba’s history under colonialism and Castroism, but it does a disservice to Cuba’s democratic period (1902-1952). During the Cuban Republic, the island’s leaders negotiated the return of the Isle of Pines and reduced the U.S. military presence from four bases to two and then to one. The Platt Amendment was the price for ending the four-year American occupation following the Spanish-American War, and ending Platt in 1934 ended formal U.S. interference in Cuban affairs.

Over 50 years, Cuba developed a multiparty system, competitive elections, a free press, a modern public health system and a strong labor movement. This translated to social achievements placing pre-1959 Cuba at the top of Latin American indexes, outperforming Castro’s Cuba.

Cuba even led in proposing, drafting and lobbying for the passage of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Language in the declaration was selected from Cuba’s 1940 constitution. Cuban diplomats presented nine proposals, five of which are in the UDHR.

The Cuban Republic wasn’t perfect, but its achievements over a half-century delivered for all Cubans. It offers a powerful contrast to Cuba today.

John Suarez

Center for a Free Cuba

Falls Church, Va.

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Appeared in the September 14, 2021, print edition as ‘Cuba’s Republic Outshines Colonialism and Castroism.’

The Miami Herald, September 12, 2021

Business with Cuba won’t bring democracy. And U.S. companies can find better markets | Opinion

By Jerry Haar

September 12, 2021 06:00 AM

For American companies that aspire to do business in Cuba, the recent crackdown by the Cuban government on mass protests now places that hope not on the back burner but off the burner altogether.

Nevertheless, there remain those who believe that doing business with Cuba — mainly through the U.S. lifting the trade embargo and permitting American investment on the island — will help bring about democratic political change. However, history will note that economic liberalization does not lead to political liberalization. If it did, China and Vietnam would be like Switzerland and Singapore.

Politics aside, the case for doing business in and with Cuba is not a compelling one. To begin with, the nation is an economic basket case (11% contraction in 2020, 160% inflation rate). For companies, the main criteria for market entry are market size, purchasing power, composition of the market and the business environment.