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19th Feb 2017

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EU-Cuba agreement: A path to human rights and democracy?

  • "The EU-Cuba agreement needs to provide representatives of Cuban civil society with recognition", said Pavel Telicka, ALDE MEP. (Photo: Francesco Guarascio)

Cuba and the EU concluded their negotiations for a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PCDA) on 11 March 2016.

Following up to this agreement, Pavel Telicka, MEP and Vice President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), on 31 May at the European Parliament in Brussels, hosted a conference to discuss the agreement and Cuba's path for human rights and democracy.

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"The agreement has to lead to transition... We need to see change in the situation of ordinary Cubans and real democratisation of the society and of the institutions in Cuba," said Telicka.

Representatives from Cuba's civil society were invited to speak.

Rosa Maria Paya, the daughter of Sakharov Prize winner Oswaldo Paya, Pedro Fuentes-Cid, spokesman for the Consejo Presidio Politico Cubano and vice president of the International Platform for Human Rights in Cuba, and Mario Lleonart, member of the coordinating commission of the Cuban national encounter, all made emotional pleas for the need of Cuban people to be consulted in the process.

Paya argued that civil society was not consulted in the PCDA negotiations and it legitimises a government that was not democratically elected.

The agreement is now pending ratification by Cuba and the EU.

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