'"Best friends forever" ignored Cuba's human rights violations for commercial benefits'

Havana, Dec 18 (ANI): Secret US diplomatic cables released by the whistleblower website 'Wikileaks' have revealed that Australia, Canada, Switzerland and Spain had stopped pressuring Cuba over human rights with the intention of gaining commercial favours from Havana.

The Guardian quoted Jonathan Farrar, the US head of mission, as saying that the western governments continued to pay 'lip service to concerns about political prisoners and censorship', but in reality they were simply appeasing Cuba's communist rulers.

He further criticised his colleagues for avoiding democracy activists, "kowtowing" to the Fidel Castro regime and joining the "best friends forever" camp.

"The Cuban government has been able to stonewall its independent civil society from foreign visitors who have, for the large part, been all too ready to give in to Cuban bullying and give up on these encounters," the paper quoted Farrar, as saying.The Australian foreign minister, Switzerland's human rights special envoy and the Canadian cabinet level minister of the Americas not only failed to meet with non-government Cubans, they didn't even bother to publicly call for more freedom after visiting Cuba in November," he added.

He further slammed the European commission for sitting "snugly in the best friends forever" camp and siding with Spain, which sought warmer ties with Havana, against more hawkish EU members.

"Their functionaries share with us their reproach of the 'radical' Swedes and Czechs, with their human rights priorities, and can't wait for 'moderate' Spain to take over the EU presidency," he added. (ANI)

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