07 June 2007

A Dissident's Dissident

Ex-Dissident Vaclav Havel continues to prod, push and make noise about Cuba’s freedom in Europe.

No stranger to the oppression and deprivation suffered buy the victims of totalitarianism, Havel works to enlighten those who haven’t experienced hopelessness, humiliation and terror that an omnipotent state can inflict on its citizens.

Prague, June 6 (CTK) - The European Union repeatedly applies a strange diplomatic caution towards the Communist Cuba, former Czech president Vaclav Havel said at an international conference of pro-democratic activists today.

He said that, for example, EU countries say that Cuban dissidents should not be invited to the celebrations of national holidays at their embassies in Havana.

Havel said that the EU might take an "appeasement" stand on Cuba, and that the current conference should tell the EU that this is not the right path to follow.

Havel said that democratic countries take a cautious stand because they are not sure whether they can rely on dissidents, whether some of them do not cooperate with the local police.

He said that in spite of this risk, it pays to support the dissidents.

In the opposite case, it could happen that the overall situation in the world would worsen and that billions would have to be invested in defence systems.

Havel has focused on human rights observance in Cuba for a long time.

He said at a meeting of the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba (ICDC) in Berlin in April that "Europe should catch up with the United States in its effort at human rights as well," in an allusion to the EU's effort to compete with the United States in the economy.

The ICDC was established on Havel's initiative four years ago as an association of politicians and intellectuals.

Those of us who work for a free and democratic Cuba, could have no better ally that Mr. Havel and certainly owe him our gratitude and respect.

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