The European Parliament approved on Thursday, June 10, the Resolution on the Human Rights and Political Situation in Cuba (Resolution). The vote–decided mostly along ideological lines, with 386 in favor (conservatives and liberals), 236 against (socialists and communists), and 59 abstentions–reprimanded the Cuban communist regime for not complying with the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA), a 2016 agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Marxist dictatorship in Havana regulating the relationship between both parties. Additionally, the Resolution specified a list of grievances and philosophical objections levied against the Island’s totalitarian government and system. But does any of this matter?
The Resolution makes a strong moral systemic condemnation of Cuban communism by citing the following documents: United Nations Declaration of Human Rights Declaration (UNDHR), UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Labor Organization (ILO) covenants, EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, Country Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and other international instruments which abstractly seek to codify acceptable political power conduct.
The Resolution establishes the grave contradictions between the stated admissible norms and Castro-Communism’s institutional violations of them. In other words, the Marxist government in Cuba undermines basic tenets of globally agreed-upon codes of political behavior. In many of these agreements, Cuba is a signatory party.
Specific cases of flagrant human rights abuses are itemized like the arbitrary persecution of opposition figures such as José Daniel Ferrer, Berta Soler, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Dagoberto Valdés, Denis Solís González, Luis Robles Elizástegui and Reinaldo Escobar. The Resolution also highlights the incarceration of over 150 internationally identified prisoners of conscience, as well as the over 8,000 potential political prisoners currently in jail under communist Cuba’s infamous “pre-criminal security measures” charges, as per the Island’s Penal Code Articles 72 to 84, and more than 2,500 inmates sentenced to forced labor internships.
The dictatorship’s principal source of “licit” revenue, the human trafficking neo-slave trade of leasing out Cuban workers to foreign governments, is a practice that explicitly violates human and labor rights as set forth by the IACHR, ILO, and UNDHR (among others). This is referenced in the Resolution. Clearly, the parliamentarian sponsors of the EU document were well served and correctly informed in their apparent analysis of the pulse for the reality of Cuba and the tyrannical system that its people must live under.
The perilous flaw of the European Parliament’s approach is that, despite the philosophical high ground that the Resolution seeks to uphold, its expressed contingency on the shameful PDCA makes it useless for producing any meaningful betterment in Cuba. The engagement premise that underlies the policy which the EU adopted in 2016, has not been rescinded by the Resolution. It is still the EU’s state policy regarding Cuba. The Resolution directs the Castro government to abide by the PDCA. The PDCA has established, absolutely no concrete economic or practical penalty for misconduct by Cuban communism. It is lofty, weak, and impotent.
The notion that agreements with totalitarian regimes can bring about relevant change, in the absence of strong political weaponry to inflict punishment on unacceptable behavior like those articulated in the Resolution, is naiveness at its apex. Vladimir Lenin invented the coexistence theory for a reason. When the communists are in disadvantage, they call for dialogue, negotiate to buy time, sign agreements that they will never honor, and dupe the democrats of the world. When will the free governments learn?