Desperate US Attempts to Pressure Europe over Cuba

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The Bush administration is desperately applying pressure against the European Union hoping to prevent the Group of 27 nations from assuming an independent policy on Cuba and thus distancing itself from Washington’s aggressive and failed policy against the Caribbean island, writes Patricio Montesinos.

White House attempts to get the EU to maintain a hostile posture towards Cuba have become more evident in recent weeks, after Spainish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos visited Cuba in April.

Shortly after Moratino’s visit to Havana to normalize relations between the two countries, Washington unleashed a new diplomatic campaign aimed at thwarting any possible EU policy change on Cuba.

Several White House officials have been dispatched to Europe, some of them secretly, as was the case of Caleb Mc Carry, the designated governor to implement Bush’s “Plan of Assistance to a Free Cuba.”

Mc Carry —the equivalent of Paul Bremen, the former US administrator in occupied Iraq— was jeered at in each of his European stops by representatives of the International Solidarity with Cuba movement in Europe.

Mc Carry’s tour was preceded by a visit to Spain by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Colleen Graffy, who publicly demanded explanations from Moratinos about his Havana visit. Graffy’s demands were strongly supported by the rightwing Partido Popular, well known for its submission to Washington and its anti-Cuba obsession.

Thomas Shannon, US undersecretary of State made similar demands just a few days earlier, in another act of US interference in Spain’s internal affairs. Shannon, who had initially planned a trip to Madrid, suspended his visit at the last minute, citing problems with his agenda.

The offensive launched by Washington included a surprise visit to Brussels, headquarters of the European Union, by Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, to be followed by a another trip to Madrid on June 1 by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The Bush Administration is trying to do in Europe, and particularly in Spain, what it has not been able to stop within the United States itself, where there is a growing movement within Congress seeking a change of Washington’s policy towards Cuba. A total of 18 bills related to Cuba have been submitted, with 13 of them calling for a change of Washington’s conduct to Havana.

Meanwhile, political, religious, academic and economic sectors are showing a growing tendency to work for change in the aggressive US policy against Cuba.

Last December, a group of ten Congress members from both the Democratic and Republican parties visited the island to engage in a dialogue with Cuban authorities, an action that the Bush regime did not dare question.

However, the White House is demanding explanations from the Spanish government for Moratino’s visit to the island. It even resorts to blackmail against other EU countries to foil any rapprochement towards Cuba, and to keep the Group of 27 subservient to its interests.

This blog item first appeared on the English website website of Periodoco26, a newspaper published in Las Tunas, Cuba.