Havel praises Czech stance on Cuba
He was reacting to another in a series of diplomatic spats between Prague and Havana, which banned the celebrations of the Czech national holiday in a luxury Havana hotel on October 28 to which Cuban dissidents were also invited.
The Czechoslovak Independence Day celebration that the Cuban authorities labelled “a counter-revolutionary action,” eventually took place in Czech charge d’affaires Petr Stiegler’s residence.
The Czech Foreign Ministry handed a protest note to Aymee Hernandez, Cuban charge d’affaires in Prague, who categorically dismissed it.
Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda discussed the incident with his EU counterparts at their meeting yesterday.
“When the European Union was going to adopt a recommendation to the member states not to invite dissidents to the celebrations of their national holidays, it probably wanted to prevent similar things from happening. But such a policy is extremely short-sighted. It is a compromise with evil, it is accommodating the totalitarian power. I am glad that they [Czechs] contributed to the rejection of the draft resolution,” Havel told CTK.
Hernandez told the Spanish news agency EFE that “the whole Cuban dissident movement is trumped up, hired by the United States” and that “if someone regrets the behaviour of the Czech government, it is the Cuban people.”
The Czech Republic is critical of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and his totalitarian regime. It had pushed through U.N. resolutions criticising Cuba.
Havel, a former dissident, said that it is only a matter of a short time before Castro’s regime collapses.
The international community can fight against it through embargoes, diplomatic boycotts, financial support to the regime’s opponents as well as the biggest supply of information to them, Havel said.
Havel has focused on human rights observance, including in Cuba, since his second and last possible term as Czech president expired in early 2003.
Havel, 69, was Czechoslovak president from 1989-1992 and Czech president from 1993 to 2003.