Roy, Joaquín. (2004) The European Union and Cuba, in the aftermath of Castro’s ‘fall’. Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series, Vol. 4. No. 14, October 2004. [Working Paper]
The announcement made by the Spanish government in September of 2004 to sponsor a new approach of the European Union relations with Cuba raised certain expectations and skepticism from seasoned observers, as well as apprehension in circles close to the dissident movement. After much hesitation in correcting one of the most polemical measures taken by the EU on Cuba in recent years, the Spanish embassy decided to invite again the representatives of the Cuban dissident groups to the reception of the 12 of October. However, the highly political content of the speech given by the new Spanish ambassador, advancing that changes were in the making, produced a visible irritation in the dissident movement and the political opposition in Spain. This was apparently a preview of more conflicts to come, in view of the accidental arrival and expulsion of a Spanish member of Congress and director of international relations of the Partido Popular, in the company of two other Dutch deputies. The protest filed by the Netherlands government and the pressure created in the media made the prospects of a reformatted EU policy towards Cuba even more doubtful. Moreover, with the EU machinery barely recovered after this crisis, pondering about the alternatives, the accident suffered by Fidel Castro, with the potential of affecting his decision-making powers, has made the European future measures even more cautious. In any case, the recent and current state of affairs of EU-Cuba relations, with Spain at the center, is wider in scope and details, filled with complex dimensions and actors.
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