Roy, Joaquin. (2007) The attitude of the European Union and Spain towards Cuba: an assessment, a year after Castro’s illness. EUMA Paper Vol. 4, Special July 2007. UNSPECIFIED.
[Introduction] A year after the dramatic announcement of Fidel Castro’s illness and temporary cession of power to his brother Raúl, the relation between the European Union (EU) and Cuba has returned to a level of normalcy, matching a previous cycle of a freezing attitude expressed by the Cuban authorities and an attempt by European actors to influence or persuade Havana for an opening and the implementation of political and economic reforms.1 After a prolonged period of “wait and see” by Brussels and some of the most active European governments (led by Spain) in their relationship with Cuba they took some initiatives which resulted in a merely ambivalent response by the Cuban government. These were perceived either as a positive move by certain governments, while the response by others has been interpreted as an aggressive. However, when the special EU Council critical conclusions were issued in June of 2007, including an offer made to the Cuban authorities to meet in Brussels, the answer from Havana was violently and publicly negative, topped by a column written by Fidel Castro. In sum, one year after the July 31, 2006 announcement regarding Castro’s health, not much has changed in essence, details and spirit in the peculiar relationship between Europe and Cuba. In spite of specific moves implemented by Madrid, the same assessment can be applied to the current chapter of the “special relationship” between Spain and Cuba.
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