Going Dutch on Cuba

Thursday, January 9, 2014
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans just concluded a two-day visit to Cuba, where he signed a (rather meaningless) agreement with Castro regime to engage in bilateral "political consultations" and urged the European Union to adjust its Common Position.

"I think dialogue is a better way than turning our backs to each other," he argued.

Yet, Timmermans had no problem "turning his back" on Cuba's courageous democracy activists, who unsuccessfully asked to meet with him during the visit.

As Kees van Kortenhof, president of the Amsterdam-based NGO, Glastnost in Cuba, responded, “a dialogue without contacts with the peaceful opposition will not be successful over the long-term.”

"[The Dutch Foreign Minister's] visit could only be successful if dialogue is established with the whole Cuban society,” he added.

However, Timmermans didn't want to offend his totalitarian hosts and risk hindering any opportunities for the Dutch businessmen accompanying him.

So Timmermans did Castro's bidding and (Timmermans hopes) Castro will do his.

And Cuba's democracy activists are on their own.