Czech officials react heatedly to Schwarzenberg's expulsion from Cuba

20-05-2005

Czech officials and politicians have reacted heatedly to Cuba's expulsion of a Czech senator, demanding an explanation. Senator Karel Schwarzenberg was thrown out of the country late Thursday, soon after arriving to meet with Cuban dissidents. So far, Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has reacted by saying the expulsion was proof the Czech Republic's tough stance on Cuba was justified. Senate chairman Premysl Sobotka, meanwhile, has described the expulsion as "a blatant violation of international rights".

Karel Schwarzenberg is the former head of the presidential office under former Czech president Vaclav Havel, himself a strong critic of Fidel Castro's regime. The European Union is to decide soon whether to reinstate diplomatic sanctions against Cuba on the basis of human rights violations. The Czech Republic has been pushing the EU not to soften its stance.