After opposition from the Czech government, the European Union has dropped a proposed ban on inviting Cuban dissidents to national-day receptions at European embassies in Havana.
The ban was proposed by the goverment of Spain, which apparently believed that kowtowing to the Castro regime on this matter would somehow make life easier for Cuban dissidents.
Many Czechs, of course, know a thing or two about being dissidents in a Communist country. As the Prague Post reported:
Debate over the ban touched a nerve here, where many former dissidents entered politics after communism fell in 1989.
Former dissident-turned-president Vaclav Havel wrote in the Jan. 28 edition of the French newspaper Le Figaro, “I can hardly imagine a better way for the EU to spit on [its] principles. … We will start discriminating against free-thinking people.”
Czech foreign minister Cyril Svoboda put it simply and eloquently: “Considering our totalitarian past, it was unacceptable for us to accept limitations on contact with people who are fighting for democracy.”
The Czech government also turned down a bizarre demand from North Korea to ban the movie “Team America: World Police,” which depicts the Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il in a rather unfavorable light (supplying WMDs to terrorists, shooting his translator, pushing Hans Blix into a shark tank, etc.). I wonder if the North Koreans have made similar demands of other countries. I wonder if any have complied. Is the film playing in Havana?
(Hat tip: Mick Hartley)