Cuba: between the EU's conditional engagement and US embargo

19-04-2010

Castro's regime depends economically on Venezuela (which replaced the USSR as Cuba's benefactor) and politically on the US embargo. The latter provides the image of an enemy, which the communist regime exploits to guarantee social cohesion. However, economic difficulties are eroding the government's legitimacy. The US and the EU follow contradictory approaches to promote Cuba's democratisation. Whereas the US aims to replace the current elite, the EU's common position foresees a peaceful transition to pluralism from within the present regime. Nevertheless, both powers link full cooperation with Havana to improvements in human rights and political freedom. The EP has supported human rights and democracy in Cuba by passing resolutions and awarding the Sakharov prize to critics of the regime.

Castro's regime depends economically on Venezuela (which replaced the USSR as Cuba's benefactor) and politically on the US embargo. The latter provides the image of an enemy, which the communist regime exploits to guarantee social cohesion. However, economic difficulties are eroding the government's legitimacy. The US and the EU follow contradictory approaches to promote Cuba's democratisation. Whereas the US aims to replace the current elite, the EU's common position foresees a peaceful transition to pluralism from within the present regime. Nevertheless, both powers link full cooperation with Havana to improvements in human rights and political freedom. The EP has supported human rights and democracy in Cuba by passing resolutions and awarding the Sakharov prize to critics of the regime.