Rob Sequin | Havana Journal
The European Union voted today to condemn Cuba for the “avoidable and cruel” death of dissident hunger striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo.
The European assembly called on Cuba to immediately release all political prisoners and urged the EU foreign affairs liaison Catherine Ashton, to push the Castro regime toward a peaceful transition towards a multiparty democracy.
The vote of 509-30 with 14 abstentions in favor comes as another Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas is seriously ill from his own hunger strike that he is using as a demand to get Cuban political prisoners freed. The assembly is concerned about Farinas and called his condition “alarming.”
Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Assembly said “We cannot afford another death in Cuba” and he has called for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Cuba.
He continued “We need action.” and that “the Cuban government must respect fundamental freedoms, especially the freedom of expression and political association. Freedom of movement must also be respected.”
The Cuban government released a statement saying it did not appreciate the lecture and would not respond to international pressure.
Cuba, which had hoped for improved relations with Europe following Spain’s ascension to the EU presidency in January, blasted the EU vote.
“The European Parliament has just passed a condemnation resolution against our country, manipulating sentiments, distorting facts, deceiving people and obscuring reality, and Cubans find it offensive this attempt at teaching us lessons.”
The Cuban parliament statement also said that Cuba “rejects impositions, intolerance and pressure”.