14ymedio, Havana, 15 July 2023 — The veto of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua will prevent the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, from attending the summit of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (EU-Celac), which will be held in Brussels on July 17 and 18. According to the Argentine media Infobae, a senior European official announced that the three countries, whose alliance with Moscow has been strengthened in recent months, blocked the invitation suggested by the head of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez.
“President Zelensky is not going to attend,” said the senior official, who hopes that at the EU-Celac meeting – which had not been in session for eight years – the “collateral damage in other parts of the world will be discussed from the Russian aggression, which has caused damage and fragilities, which has created food insecurity and increased inflation.”
“All this will probably be discussed,” added the official, who clarified that “there was already an opportunity to discuss the war and the position vis-à-vis Moscow at the EU meeting in Copenhagen, where Russian special representatives participated with an ’active participation in the discussion.’”
Now, however, Europe aspires for Latin America and the Caribbean to dialogue “on how to end this aggression,” and that means accepting the conditions of countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, such as the absence of Ukraine, which, he alleged, is not part of the EU or Celac.
Although Zelensky himself said that Pedro Sánchez, head of the government of Spain – the country that presides over the EU until December – had invited him to the summit, Infobae claims to have had access to anonymous statements from a Brussels spokesman who says that the Ukrainian president never had a formal request to attend.
In a brief press conference, Infobae points out, Zelensky complained that several “regional presidents and dictators had truncated his trip,” although he did not clarify which governments had opposed it.
The president, who leads his country’s resistance against the invasion of Vladimir Putin that began in February 2022, was able to attend the recent NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, although Ukraine was not given entry into this organization.
The suggestion by Celac to invite Zelensky to the summit was also made months ago by the president of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou. At that time, the Argentine government leader Alberto Fernández – then president of the Latin American organization – was ambiguous about the issue but made it clear that the decision to allow Ukraine’s presence at the summit should be a prerogative of Celac.
Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are fully aligned with Russia. The reception of diplomats, the commercial exchange – particularly in the oil sector – and the constant transfer of senior officials from these countries through Moscow have turned the governments of Miguel Díaz-Canel, Nicolás Maduro and Daniel Ortega into Putin’s stalwarts, and they are key points for Russia’s strategy in the region.
In the case of Cuba, the link has occurred at the highest level, and both regimes have starred in an unprecedented rapprochement since the Soviet era. The Island has clearly positioned itself in the international arena in favor of Russia, and the version of the conflict in Ukraine from the official Cuban press follows the dictates of the Kremlin.
Díaz-Canel, who is currently making a state trip to Portugal where he intends to negotiate that country’s hiring of 300 Cuban doctors, will attend the EU-Celac summit after the plenary of the European Parliament approved a resolution on Wednesday for the Government of the Island to put an end to “the policy of repression, intensified in recent times.” In addition, it demanded the “immediate and unconditional release of all detainees solely because of the exercise of their human rights, the withdrawal of abusive criminal charges and that the exiles be allowed to return.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
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