» ICDC: International Committee for Democracy in Cuba
Two Deputy Heads of the European Chamber of Deputies Ask Member States to Help the Opposition
2006-12-05 / Agencies
Two of the fourteen deputy heads of the European Chamber of deputies, the British Conservative Edward McMillan-Scott and the Polish Liberal Januz Onyszkiewicz, asked the EU to finance the Cuban opposition in order to promote the transition towards democracy and to not lose ground with the US, in this time of change caused by the Fidel Castro’s illness, according to the Europa Press.
McMillan-Scott proposed focusing Member States’ help through the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights. The European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights is a gathering of all EU funds assigned for the promotion of Human Rights. As of 1 January 2007 this instrument “will be able to finance directly the political actors of the civic society.”
The Deputy Head of the European Parliament assured that he was not talking about a “change of the regime,” as he didn’t like to use such a term. He pointed out that the idea of financing the opposition is already being considered by the Commission.
The European focus, he said, should consist of “promotion of the concept of democracy, human rights, legal, state and fundamental freedoms, and with the Initiative we have a mechanism to do this”.
He admitted that this instrument cannot be applied in all countries in conflict. Still he insisted that “Cuba is that kind of a country that needs changes desperately.”
“The EU must not stay quiet without doing a single thing and leaving all the initiative to the Americans,” declared McMillan. He stressed that it is clear that Castro is “extremely ill” and that he possibly suffers from “stomach cancer.”
“The EU has a capacity to do much more than it’s doing recently,” insisted McMillan, who visited Cuba at the end of October and met members and representative of the internal dissidence group Damas de Blanco.
Mr. Onyskiewitz said that the Cubans have a “lack of perspectives” and thus the EU must show them that the stability they have enjoyed under communism will continue in freedom.
“To give them an efficient assistance through this new instrument, more flexible than the previous ones, could make the things progress. We must not wait for a change in the structure of power in Cuba, the time is about to be over,” he warned.
In Mr. Onyskiewitz’s opinion, helping Cubans is a “moral obligation” for the EU and especially for its new member states that have lived under communism and witnessed its fall. “It would be too bad to let just the US to act in Cuba,” he pointed out.
© icdc 2005