The European Union is restricting its contacts with Cuba because of human rights abuses by Fidel Castro’s regime.
In a sharply worded statement issued by presidency-holder Greece, the EU announced that high-level government visits would be limited, as well as EU ambassadors’ profiles at cultural events - while relations with the communist-run island state would be re-evaluated overall.
The EU said it was “deeply concerned about the continuing flagrant violation of human rights and of fundamental freedoms of members of the Cuban opposition and of independent journalists”.
The statement demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners and that “in the meantime, prisoners do not suffer unduly and are not exposed to inhumane treatment”.
It cited among the “recent deplorable actions” by Cuba the decision to return to the death penalty - after Havana executed by firing squad last month three man who hijacked a ferry.
The EU opened a new office in Havana in March which officials said would improve and deepen relations between Europe and Cuba.