Thursday, October 21, 2004

He is not that important but he is a tyrant

Never let it be said that it is only important tyrannical and totalitarian states that the EU wants to be friendly with. Fidel Castro of Cuba is really not that important but he is a totalitarian oppressor and he is not liked by the USA. So we ought to be friendly with him, say at least some of the EU’s politicians.

Having been friendly with him for decades and achieving nothing thereby, the EU governments imposed diplomatic sanctions last year after a crack-down on dissidents (described as US-backed mercenaries by the delightful Castro government, whose prize member Che Guevara has once again become the pin-up hero of every bien pensant in Britain and Europe) and the execution of three hi-jackers. The EU, let us recall, is very strongly against capital punishment.

At the same time the embassies in Havana started inviting those dissidents who happened to be out of gaol to their receptions. But that was in the bad old days of Prime Minister Aznar, described as the “little F├╝hrer with the moustche” by the delightful etc etc (see paragraph above).

The new Zapatera government, on the other hand, says that sanctions do not work, while friendly relations might. They never have in the past, but few politicians like to be bothered with details. The Spanish government proposes to put an end to those symbolic links with the Cuban dissidents and is calling on other EU states to do the same. It seems that EU diplomats are reasonably positive about the idea.

Of course, they say, they will require Castro to improve his civil and human rights record (well, I suppose you can always have more than none, as Alice was told at the March Hare’s tea party) and if he does not, well, they might impose diplomatic sanctions again. Or not.

To be fair, other European, even Spanish politicians find the idea of rewarding Castro for doing nothing for political freedom, one of the supposed cardinal beliefs of the EU, somewhat repugnant. Still, he is a tyrant, he is anti-American. We ought to support him.

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