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Michel Departs Cuba - Calls fidel A Very Kind Man
Tuesday, March 29, 2005   By: Juan Paxety

With positive thoughts

Here's a big surprise.  European Union development commissioner Louis Michel has ended his visit to fidel's communist paradise, and he leaves with positive impressions. The reports:

Mr Michel held a four-hour meeting with the Cuban president Fidel Castro and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Felipe Pérez Roque, in what was described by the Commission as a "positive and constructive atmosphere".

Cuba agreed to enhance political dialogue with the European Union, based on mutual respect and frank exchanges on all issues without taboos, according to a Commission press release

The EU is still sticking with its January plan to try talking as a policy rather than diplomatic sanctions. The test runs until June. 

Seems to me this means the EU diplomats mean to attend plenty of fidel's cocktail parties, and invite his diplomats to plenty of theirs. The cocktail wars of last year were just so inconvenient.

Oh, Mr. Michel did remember the political prisoners in fidel's jails.

During his visit to Havana, Commissioner Michel recalled the EU's position on the release of all political prisoners.

Could there be weaker language?  He also met with some dissidents.

Mr Michel said he appreciated that he did not encounter any difficulties in meeting dissidents and Human Rights activists.

No call for freedom. Only an appreciation for lack of difficulties to himself. The weakness of diplomats - the weakness of the EU.

Of course, fidel is playing up Michel's words. Periodico 26 reports:

The European Union Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, said on Sunday in Havana that relations between the EU and the island are absolutely necessary and useful. He stressed the importance of political dialogue between both sides.

The EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, who held several meetings in Havana, recognized Cuba's valuable experience in cooperation for development with special emphasis on education, health, and preparedness in the face of natural catastrophes. In a communiqué distributed to the press, he said that Cuba could become an important partner for the European Union in the field of development.

Did Michel really say that the EU and Cuba would be important partners? Probably so.

Update - The Financial Times has more, including this shocking statement:

"I think things have changed, because yesterday during four hours I had in front of me a very kind man, very skilful and very healthy, full of energy, who seems to be wishing to make some headway with the European Union," Mr Michel said.

A very kind man. Words fail me.


(c)1968- today j.e. simmons or michael warren