EU-Cuba talks delayed by dispute over cultural event

martes 9 de diciembre de 2014 11:00 GYT

* EU and Cuba seeking modest trade, investment accord

* EU sees deal as way to open up communist island

By Robin Emmott and Daniel Trotta

BRUSSELS/HAVANA, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Cuba has delayed negotiations towards an accord with the European Union aimed at opening up the Communist-ruled island, citing a dispute over an EU cultural event in Washington, people close to the matter said on Tuesday.

The third round of talks, due to take place on Jan. 8-9 in Havana, was scheduled to discuss human rights, always a sensitive topic for Cuba, a one-party state that represses dissent and controls the media.

The EU and Cuba initiated the political dialogue on April 29 this year to improve strained relations, part of the most significant deepening of ties since the bloc lifted diplomatic sanctions in 2008.

But people involved in preparing the talks say Cuba is upset with the European Union over a cultural event organised by the bloc in Washington in March. Spain's recent call for travel rights for dissidents may have also offended Havana.

The cultural event the Cubans have cited as problematic was an exhibition of aerial photographs of Cuba by a Lithuanian artist that had Havana's backing.

The travelling exhibition, which is now in Brussels, was shown in Washington but Cuba did not approve of some of the people who attended its inauguration there, sources said.   Continuación...