Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans is very keen about having dialogue with Cubans. The problem is that the only Cubans he wants to talk to are the island’s slave masters. While the Castro dictatorship gets Timmerman’s full attention, all of the island’s dissidents must hold their noses because all they are getting is a Dutch oven.
Going Dutch on Cuba
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans just concluded a two-day visit to Cuba, where he signed a (rather meaningless) agreement with Castro regime to engage in bilateral “political consultations” and urged the European Union to adjust its Common Position.
“I think dialogue is a better way than turning our backs to each other,” he argued.
Yet, Timmermans had no problem “turning his back” on Cuba’s courageous democracy activists, who unsuccessfully asked to meet with him during the visit.
As Kees van Kortenhof, president of the Amsterdam-based NGO, Glastnost in Cuba, responded, “a dialogue without contacts with the peaceful opposition will not be successful over the long-term.”
Moreover, that “[the Dutch Foreign Minister’s] visit could only be successful if dialogue is established with the whole Cuban society.”
However, Timmermans didn’t want to offend his totalitarian hosts and risk hindering any opportunities for the Dutch businessmen accompanying him.
So Timmermans did Castro’s bidding and (now Timmermans hopes) Castro will do his.
But Cuba’s democracy activists are on their own.