Alexa

US congressmen urge greater role for ex-communist EU states in Cuban democracy process

US congressmen urge greater role for ex-communist EU states in Cuban democracy process

A group of Cuban-American U.S. congressmen on Thursday urged Hungary and other former communist states to play a greater role in advocating for democratic changes in Cuba.
The lawmakers said the transition of these countries from totalitarian regimes to democracy gave them credibility in the issue and a better grasp of Cuban reality.
"A country that has gone through the experience (Hungary) has gone through can play a major role in assistance and providing support for democracy in Cuba," said U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, a Democrat from New Jersey.
Sires and the rest of the delegation said Hungary and the European Union could assist the changes in Cuba by finding ways to help Cuban dissidents and insisting that free elections be held on the island after Fidel Castro's death.
The congressmen also were critical of Spain's position toward Cuba, especially of investments in Cuba made by Spanish companies, and said the Eastern European countries needed to be more determined in efforts to lead the European Union's position on Cuba.
"In the EU, there is too much acceptance of the supposed leadership from Spain on the issue of Cuba," said Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Republican from Florida. "Spain still seems to be in the 19th century, defending colonial interests with regards to Cuba."
"Why this Spanish consensus of support for the regime in Cuba? That's why countries like Hungary must be assertive."
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, like his brother also a Florida Republican, said the current Spanish government led by Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was "one of the strongest collaborators of (Cuba's) totalitarian, apartheid dictatorship."
Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice chided Spain for doing business with Castro while not working more to support dissidents.
The Spanish government said that engagement was the best way to influence Castro's regime, and that there has been frequent contact with dissident groups since the Socialist government took office in 2004.
The U.S. delegation also thanked Hungary for recently agreeing to provide asylum to 29 Cuban refugees held at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. naval base.
"The humanitarian gesture is greatly appreciated," Lincoln Diaz-Balart said.
After learning of the decision to take in the refugees, Cuba called Hungary an "imperial accomplice" of Washington, and said it was being "servile" to its "powerful and aggressive master," the United States.
The three congressmen met with Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, Foreign Minister Kinga Goncz and opposition leaders during their stay, part of a trip which also includes stops in Poland and the Czech Republic.


Updated : 2021-03-05 03:38 GMT+08:00