A. It is suggested that one should visit Havana soon – before its residual old-world charm is ruined by the commercialization to be expected following the return of normal relations with the United States.
B. Recently, 52 dissidents were allowed to leave Cuba, thanks to Spain’s mediation.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (July 22) has doubts about Spain’s campaign to boost Cuba’s record on human rights: “It was a strange coincidence that in the days after the announcement of the pact between Raúl Castro, the Catholic Church and Foreign Minister Moratinos on the release of the prisoners, 84-year-old Fidel suddenly made half a dozen public appearances….
“[Those already released] are temporarily housed at a small hotel called ‘Welcome’ in a Madrid suburb but would prefer to be with their friends and families in Florida. The Europeans, they say, should not be deceived. For beyond political maneuverings nothing much can be expected from the Castros for the simple reason that any substantial step towards liberalization would weaken their grip on power.
“So should the EU provide oxygen to a moribund dictatorship that in the space of half a century has seen more than a tenth of its population flee the country, all in the vague hope of a ‘soft transition’?”