Over the weekend Fidel Castro celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban revolution with a fiery speech in which he rejected humanitarian aid from the EU. His outburst has elicited comments in the European papers.
It'll take more than a dose of water to dampen Castro's fiery attacks against the EU.
The French paper Le Figaro was of the opinion that the people of Cuba will pay a high price for President Castro's arrogance. The European Union is not only Cuba's biggest trading partner, it is also the main investor in the country. It supplies Cuba with fifteen to twenty million euros of aid annually. And Cuba is a country that has been hard hit by the decline in tourism and is on the brink of ruin, the paper commented.
The Austrian paper Die Presse noted that Castro considers it impertinent of the Europeans to attach conditions to financial aid. His attitude, the paper said, is short-sighted. Many Cubans, both at home and in exile, are just waiting for the day when they can start to build a new future for their country.
In Italy, Il Messaggerrero wrote that Castro used the anniversary to return to one of his key themes that also formed the basis for his revolution: national sovereignty and national dignity. Other issues, the paper said, such as democracy and social justice have faded from view with the passage of time.
The Dutch paper Algemeen Dagblatt bemoaned the failure of the West to stage a military intervention in Liberia, which is plagued by a civil war. The three U.S. warships which are to lay anchor off the coast of Liberia will do nothing to quash the violence that has been inflicted on the country for so long, the paper said. The people of Monrovia have appealed to the Americans to send in troops, but the Bush administration prefers just to wait and see what happens next. The paper continued to say that Saddam Hussein was driven out of Baghdad because he terrorised the population. In Liberia, the paper argued, the situation is no different and the population is also entitled to expect a military intervention.