Cuba's foreign minister welcomes EU move to lift sanctions
Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque said "reason" had triumphed as he welcomed the European Union 's lifting of sanctions, reported dpa.
"We never surrendered in this confrontation, because we were convinced that reason would prevail," Perez Roque said Tuesday during an official visit in Angola, according to the Cuban press agency Prensa Latina.
In a first reaction to the news, former president Fidel Castro, 81, who officially handed power to his brother Raul in February due to an illness, described the EU's decision to end the sanctions an "enormous hypocricy," as the EU's decision will be reviewed in one year's time.
One day later, however, Castro denied to have written the invective, indicating at a disagreement between the Castro brothers and within the Communist Party, analysts said.
The European Union foreign ministers agreed to lift the largely symbolic sanctions against Cuba on Thursday. They have been suspended since 2005.
The measure was championed by Spain, which normalized relations with Cuba last year.
The EU asked the Havana regime to "improve the human rights situation," which for the EU would mean the "unconditional liberation of all political prisoners, including those who were arrested in 2003" and which led to the sanctions now lifted.
Cuban dissidents also called the EU decision a "hypocritical policy."