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PIN publishes bulletin on Cuba-Europe relations

2006-06-15 / Nikola Horejs

People in Need published the first issue of a quarterly bulletin dedicated to relations between Cuba and Europe. The publication entitled Cuba-Europe Dialogues intends to provide forum for Europeans supporting civic society and defending human rights in Cuba.


There is a great deal of interaction occurring between Cubans and Europeans, even though Cuban regime claims to be the only partner for any cooperation. Numerous European non-governmental organizations work with Cuban partners, travel to Cuba, and endeavor to support its civic society. The bulletin presents a forum upon which the knowledge resulting from these activities may be shared between these organizations. We strive to demonstrate that, as many sectors of society are currently engaged in this dialogue, it is vital that each one be taken into account and given attention.

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ICDC conference ‘Europe for Cuba: the New Policy of the EU and its Member States towards Cuba’ held in Brussels, 30th May

2006-06-13 / Kristina Prunerová

The International Committee for Democracy in Cuba (ICDC) held a conference entitled ‘Europe for Cuba: the New Policy of the EU and its Member States towards Cuba’ on May 30th, 2006 at Prague House, Palmerston Avenue 16 in Brussels. Members of the ICDC, delegates from Cuban civic movements, representatives of European institutions and EU member states and delegates from NGOs met during this conference. Participating ICDC members will include former presidents Václav Havel (Czech Republic) and Luis Alberto Lacalle (Uruguay); former head of state Vytautas Landsbergis (Lithuania) and Vice-President of the European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott (United Kingdom). Please find final program and press release with some of the conclusions in the section of Documents.

The participants of the conference presented reports about the situation in Cuba in the past year and made suggestions regarding the position that the EU and its member states should adopt towards Cuba. This event took place just a few days before a meeting of high-level European representatives in June to review the common policy of the EU towards Cuba, adopted in January 2005. At that time, the decision was taken to suspend the diplomatic sanctions imposed in 2003 - sanctions taken following the mass arrest of Cuban democrats - and a constructive dialogue with the regime authorities was recommended to EU member states.

Press conference and panel discussion with ICDC members in Vienna

2006-05-08 / Kristina Prunerová

The secretariat of the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba (ICDC) held a press conference followed by a panel discussion with the topic: “Democracy in Cuba – A Concern for EU-LAC Relations?” in Vienna, Austria on May 10, 2006. During the press conference, held at the Press Club Concordia, Vienna, ICDC member and Czech senator Karel Schwarzenberg and ICDC member and German MP Arnold Vaatz presented the ICDC 'Vienna Memorandum' to Austian and international press. At the panel discussion, which took place at the Czech Centre, Vienna, Mr. Vaatz and Mr. Schwarzenberg together with Franz Glaser (MP, Austria), Benoit Hervieu (Reporters without Borders) and Zoe Valdes (Cuban writer in exile) discussed the present human rights situation in Cuba and EU and LAC relations with Cuba.

The ICDC declaration entitled “Memorandum of Vienna” points out last year’s outbreak of repression against independent civil society in Cuba (according to international monitoring organizations) and demands EU member states reconsider their approach during the revision of the EU Common position towards Cuba. It also questions Cuba’s presence on the new Human Rights Council of the United Nations.

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“You are not alone” say approx. 300 MEPs and 300 MPs in solidarity with the Cuban opposition

2006-03-22 / Roisin Joyce

On 18 March, José Ribeiro e Castro, member of the ICDC and the European Parliament, presented an international appeal of solidarity with the Cuban peaceful opposition at a press conference in Lisbon. The appeal entitled “You are not alone” (“No estais solos”) has been signed by around 300 MEPs and 300 MPs from EU member states.

The aim of the campaign is to demonstrate that despite the ambivalent EU position toward the Castro regime, many politicians support political prisoners and the peaceful opposition inside the island. The appeal is considered the first step in a campaign to provide assistance to Cubans and will be spread among universities, artists, journalists and opinion leaders across Europe. “We support everyone in the peaceful opposition,” said Ribeiro e Castro at the press conference. “The European Parliament gave Oswlado Payá and the Ladies in White the Sacharov prize so they must now force the Cuban regime to allow them to travel to Europe.

ICDC Conference in Stockholm: Take More Concrete Steps

2006-02-22 / Kristina Prunerová

An ICDC conference entitled “Democratic Change in Cuba: Who are the Actors?” was held in Stockholm, Sweden, on February 6-7, 2006. The conference focused on identifying the main democratic actors in Cuba, discussing the projects of support for the Cuban democratic opposition and the position of European Union members states towards the democratic opposition.

The event was held under the auspices of the Czech Embassy in Sweden. Partners in the conference were Swedish International Liberal Centre, Christian Democratic International Centre and Olof Palme International Centre.

Panel discussion included Cecilia Malmström, Swedish MEP and member of ICDC; Kaj Nordquist, MP from Sweden; Tomáš Pojar, Czech Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ramón Colás, founder of the Independent Libraries of Cuba movement; or Francisco de Armas, representatives of Oswaldo Paya’s Christian Liberation Movement.

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