Amidst recurrent diplomatic setbacks, the most frustrating aspect of Morocco’s foreign policy remains its inability to capitalize on its foes’ mistakes. Rabat’s failure to draw on the suspicious death of Cuba’s leading dissident and on Spain’s shameful silence over reports of the illegal arrest and mistreatment of a member of Spain’s ruling Popular Party (PP) at the hands of Cuban intelligence are two particular instances of a Moroccan diplomcay lacking a global vision.

 

Spanish human right activists who support Sahrawi dissident Aminatou Haidar, Leftist Spanish Parliamentarians -members of the Cortes or the European Parliament- and Spanish actor and “activist” Javier Bardem have , conveniently, ignored the extra-judicial killing of Oswaldo Payá by Cuban intelligence. The Spanish press accustomed to publishing front page story on Morocco’s “mistreatments of Sahrawis” have given little notice to this story withstanding that a Spanish colleague of the late Payá was arbitrary arrested and threatened by Castro’s agents.

 

Moroccan diplomats in Washington, Mexico and Madrid seem unconcerned with these two events that in fact Morocco should utilize as a vehicle to highlight Spain’s selective approach in denouncing human rights abuses; and to deplore Cuba’s shallow role in supporting the Polisario-Algerian drive to amend the MUNURSO’s role to include monitoring human rights in the Morocco controlled Sahara.

 

According to published reports, a member of Spain’s PP came forward to offer an eyewitness account of the car accident that led to the death of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá last summer. In a startling interview, Mr. Ángel Carromero descirebed how Cuban undercover agents rammed Mr. Payá’s car leading to the death of the Cuban dissident. Mr. Carromero who was the driver at the time was arrested and battered at the hands of Castor’s agents.

 

The Spanish Government that criticizes Morocco’s abuses in the Western Sahara and several of Spain’s human rights activists who were first to condemn Moroccan actions against “Sahrawis” are either discounting or justifying Cuba’s cold blooded killing of a peaceful dissident and the abuse of a Spanish citizen member of the ruling party .

 

If the “struggling” Moroccan press could not cover this story, Jackson Diehl, The deputy editorial page editor for the Washington Post, denounced the Spanish Foreign Minister’s aloof attitude toward the killing of a major human right activist in Cuba and reports of the mistreatment of a Spanish citizen in a Cuban jail. Mr. Diehl wrote: ” One might have expected an expression of shock [from Spains‘s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margello] at the revelation that the Castro regime might have deliberately killed one of the world’s best-known advocates of peaceful democratic change, a winner of the European Union’s Sakharov Prize, and then abused and framed a prominent Spanish citizen.

 

Nope: Garcia-Margello didn’t hesitate to throw the leader of his party’s youth wing under a bus. The foreign ministry, he primly told the reporters, “didn’t have evidence” of Carromero’s account. “The only evidence” it had, he added, was an agreement between the Cuban government and Spain allowing the repatriation of Carromero, which “recognized . . . the legitimacy of the verdict” of a Cuban court that found him guilty of negligent homicide.”

 

The United Nations (UN) should investigate the death of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, his daughter said as she handed over a petition to the UN Human Rights Commission claiming that her father had been murdered by the Cuban regime. Morocco, a subject of several accusations from Algeria and Cuba at the same forum, should assist and support Rosa María Payá’s efforts to expose Cuba’s human rights abuses. Morocco should support calls by Cuban human rights activists for the creation of an international and independent team to investigate the killing of Mr. Oswaldo Payá.

 

Given Castro’s unwavering and substantial support to the Western Sahara’s separatist Polisario Front, Moroccan diplomats in Washington and Mexico should be following the events in Cuba closely. Furthermore, the Moroccan Embassy in Washington and the Moroccan Mission at the United Nations in New York should have developed profound relationship with the large and very influential Cuban American community in the United States notably in South Florida. Judging from Morocco’s lack of interests in the anti-Castro’s activities in the United States and Spain, it looks as if Moroccan diplomats have left the field open to the Polisario and Algeria to enjoy Cuba’s backing without a significant diplomatic price to pay for this controversial position.

HASSAN MASIKY

18/03/2013