Spain Refuses to Sell Riot Gear to Cuba

Cuba bought riot gear from Spain in the first half of 2021, when the massive July 11, 2021 protests were about to break out throughout the island. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, December 23, 2022 — The Government of Spain denied the Cuban Ministry of the Interior the sale of 2,500 tear gas cartridges and 40 light, sound and smoke riot control devices, for a combined value of 350,000 euros. The refusal is recorded in the Report on Exports of Defense Material, Other Material and Dual-Use Products and Technologies for the first half of 2022.

According to the document, published by the Interministerial Regulatory Board for Foreign Trade in Defense Material and Dual Use (JIMDDU) – an organization chaired by the Secretary of State for Commerce, dedicated to regulating arms export operations – the reason for the refusal is the “lack of respect for human rights” that characterizes the Havana regime.

Under the protection of criterion 2 of the Common Position of the European Union – the rule of conduct on exports – the JIMDDU argued before the Spanish Congress that it is necessary to consider the degree of “respect for human rights in the country of final destination” when weapons are sent, in addition to the little “respect for International Humanitarian Law” that is observed on the Island.

This newspaper contacted the press office of the Spanish Secretary of State for Trade, which regretted not yet being able to offer the full text of the report – to which some Spanish media have had access – and guaranteed that it would be available “in the coming days” on its web page.

The repeated violation of human rights was also the reason why the JIMDDU blocked the license to export 50,000 tear gas cartridges – for a price of 2.1 million euros – to the Central African Republic.

Pakistan is also on the list, from which a “diversion risk” is alleged in the 670 sports pistols it requested, valued at 175.1 million. Nor will 5.5 million hunting cartridges be sold to Burkina Faso, for 1.6 million, nor the 13.3 million bird shots required by Guinea Bissau, which would have cost that country 2.7 million.

On the other hand, the JIMDDU did allow the shipment of riot control material to Peru, a country whose political crisis has just taken serious turns, for a value of 6.3 million euros.

The JIMDDU is required to issue a report on the granting of this type of licenses every year and the enforcing of the European legislation, which requires that the material not be destined for internal repression in countries where human rights are not respected, among other regulations. In 2021, permission to export to Cuba was granted and there was no refusal, but on this occasion the island was demanding chemical substances for laboratory analysis or ammunition used in hunting.

Another report from the Secretary of State for Commerce dated 2021 reported that Cuba had purchased riot gear in the first half of that year, when the massive protests on July 11 were about to break out throughout the island.

Although the authorization from the Spanish government took effect before July 11, it was not explained in the report if the shipment arrived in Havana in time to suppress the protest or if Spain blocked the shipment so that the regime would not attack peaceful protesters.

Also in 2014, a report from the former Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness reported the export of 3,170,228 million euros in gas masks and anti-riot suits.

Translated by Wilfredo Diaz Echevarria 


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