The EU’s decision to lift sanctions against Cuba will make little difference to the people living under Raul Castro’s regime say dissidents there. Some have criticised the move as unwarranted as there has been no significant shift towards creating a more democratic society.
Oswaldo Paya, Cuban Dissident and Sakharov Prize Winner said: “We will continue to fight for our rights with or without the European union and even with the world against us because we know we are human beings and children of God. This regime has not announced any changes that signify rights and freedom. We the Cubans want freedom and know we must conquer it on our own.”
The EU sanctions are largely symbolic with trade and investment unaffected, unlike the US embargo.
At least one Havana resident was supportive: “I think the attitude of the EU in lifting the sanctions is intelligent. It shows Europe is not toeing the American line. I think it suits our situation at the moment.”
Another said: “I don’t think there’s any difference between Fidel and Raul. He’s the continuity of the revolution so if Europe thinks there’ll be any changes they’re wrong.”
The EU is to evaluate Cuba’s progress in a year’s time and could take new measures if human rights do not improve.