Monday, April 19

The vice president of the European Parliament demands that the EU ambassador in Cuba apologize and rectify


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«Alberto Navarro (ambassador of the European Union in Cuba) has to apologize and correct what he has said publicly; this would be the minimum for me, “said Dita Charanzová, Vice-President of the European Parliament, when knowing the letter sent this Thursday by the High Representative for Foreign Policy of the EU, Josep Borrell, to a group of MEPs who had called for Navarro’s removal from office. “I also want to see High Representative Borell publicly condemn all human rights violations in Cuba and we also have to work, as the European Union, with our allies, such as the United States, on the issue of Cuba,” said Charanzová.

In recent weeks, MEPs from the PPE, Renew Europe group and ECR they had expressed their discomfort regarding Navarro’s management in Cuba, especially from a letter that the diplomat signed, in which President Biden was asked to end the embargo on the island. The situation became complicated when, days later, at the end of Last February, in the middle of the meeting on human rights as part of the Agreement for Political Dialogue and Cooperation (ADPC) between the European Union and Cuba, Navarro declared to an independent Cuban media (CubaNet) that he did not consider that there was a dictatorship in Cuba: “Of course not,” he said.

In a letter addressed to the High Representative on 3 March last, some 37 MEPs described these statements as something “unexpected, unpleasant and intolerable incident”.

“The fact that the EU Ambassador makes the aforementioned statements publicly rejecting the dictatorial nature of the regime causes profound and difficult to repair damage to the EU.”

Three days later, Josep Borrell summoned the ambassador of the bloc in Cuba to Brussels to give explanations in this regard, after which the diplomat returned to the island to continue in front of the legation until next August. The results of this meeting were made public on March 11 through Borell’s letter.

Charanzová demands answers and results

Although in the letter the High Representative alleges that Navarro has committed two important communication or trial errors, which he describes as “regrettable”, he resolves the issue by claiming that the ambassador “has admitted his mistakes” and presented “his deepest apologies”.

According to Czech politics and diplomats, from Borrell’s letter, it is not understood what Navarro’s apologies were or the consequences of his mistakes. What is in this letter is the message that Mr. Ambassador Navarro will continue in his position and I do not agree with this conclusion. (…) I think that given all this that has happened and after having weakened so much the position of the European Union towards Cuba, it cannot continue as our ambassador in Cuba. And he adds: “We need a real diplomat. It cannot be that we have a person who speaks as an ambassador but who thinks as an independent person and presents their personal opinions. That can not be. We need someone who defends the common position and who respects the majority position in the European Union. ‘

Regarding the ADPC, considered by the High Representative as “the best way to promote political and economic reforms, promote democracy and human rights, and improve the lives of the Cuban people,” for Dita Charanzová it is time to reflect, be firmer and insist “In that we cannot have a dialogue if we do not have European civil society represented”.

“We cannot say that we are going to negotiate with a country, that we are going to deal only with trade issues without taking into account, for example, human rights in this country. It cannot be, that cannot be, that is not our policy and I think that the Cuban case is an excellent case where we have to show everyone that we are serious about human rights in the world, because it is the country with the one that we have the agreement; (…) But what is missing now is the implementation and the firm position of the European Union and, above all, of Mr. Borrell. That is why I am going to continue insisting that we stand firm and implement what we have signed.

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