Friday, October 28, 2005

What The Czechs Know That The French Don't

From Blog For Cuba: The Czechs Have it Right
Odd as it might seem that a landlocked country thousands of miles away from the blue Caribbean could be key to Cuba policy, McCarry said economic or geopolitical interests are not driving Czech involvement.

"I think the real reason they are involved is because they think it's the right thing to do. They suffered under a communist dictatorship and they want to help the Cuban people free themselves from a communist dictatorship," he said.

Czechs have supported dissidents in Cuba since the 1989 revolution here, and more recently they have taken to publicly criticizing the castro regime on the global stage, largely through annual United Nations resolutions. Former President Václav Havel, still hugely admired in Cuba for his heroism while he himself was a dissident, founded the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba in 2003. And Czech humanitarian organizations and parliamentarians have made trips to Cuba to meet with dissidents and give aid to families.

Tensions have also grown between the Czech Republic and Cuba. A one-year old office in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Transition Promotion unit, has made change in Cuba a priority. And in 2001 two Czech citizens, Jan Bubenik and former Freedom Union Deputy Ivan Pilip were detained for almost a month for alleged partisan activities against the castro regime.
The French, on the other hand, worship at the altar of "El MiChe".