The European Union took steps to end diplomatic sanctions against the Cuban regime in order to shift gears into a more effective approach to bringing about change in Cuba. The action created anger in the Bush administration which believes its complete ban on Cuba has somehow resulted in changes that benefit the forces of democracy in that nation. Actually, the EU action is rather limited since it merely lifts the ban on high ranking Cuban officials being able to visit Europe. Benit Ferrero-Waldner, EU External Relations Commissioner, said “there will be clear language also on what the Cubans still have to do–releasing prisoners, really working on human rights questions.” The EU is clear that it still regards the Castro regime as repressive and in violation of basic human rights.
Bans rarely work in the real world. There are some signs Casto’s brother is instituting a few changes that open up the economy and he may well be more receptive to reconsidering his nation’s human rights policy. The more Cuban leaders are engaged with Europe’s political world, the more probable is the opportunity for freedom in Cuba.