Can a trade agreement with Cuba lead to a dialogue on democracy and human rights? Or is it the other way around? Photo: Mstyslav Chernov (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Current debate

Trade agreement with Cuba raises debate

For the second time this year, the government has submitted a proposal to the Riksdag to approve the new trade agreement between the EU and Cuba. The agreement is presented as a precondition for cooperation and dialogue with Cuba on democracy and human rights. But on the debate pages, opinions differ on the new trade agreement.

Christian Democrat Lars Adaktusson argues against an approval because "no clear demands are placed on the Cuban regime in terms of human rights and democratic reforms". If the Riksdag approves the agreement "Sweden will have a chance to influence the system that has plagued the Cuban people for 60 years", writes Lars Adaktusson.

He thus follows the line that Svenska Dagbladet's editorial writer Maria Ludvigsson already highlighted last week's Current debate. Anders L Pettersson and Erik Jennische from Civil Rights Defenders are also strongly against the trade agreement. Like Adaktusson, they want to see a change from the Cuban government before any agreement is written.

"If Sweden approves the agreement, the message to the Cuban government will be that it does not matter how they treat their citizens," they write.

But Zoltan Tiroler, chairman of the Swedish-Cuban Association, does not agree. In a reply in Omvärlden, he writes that Sweden should be in favor of an agreement and thus contribute to ending the EU's negative discrimination against Cuba. The author René Vázquez Díaz is in the same line. "To deny Cuba normal relations with the EU is another collective punishment against an entire people," he writes in Svenska Dagbladet.

In Chile, there have been massive protests against the unfair policies that have long been pursued in the country and the government has been forced to cancel both the economic meeting with Asia and the Pacific and the UN climate summit COP25 which was to take place in Santiago in December. The Latin American groups Carmen Blanco Valer and Francisco Contreras write in Sydsvenskan that President Sebastian Piñera is not doing enough to heed the demands of the people and that external pressure is needed to stop the violence.

"Sweden and all democratic forces must demand that Piñera stop the violence against the protesters," they write.

The United States has formally begun the process of leaving the Paris Agreement this week - and it is provoking reactions. The 1,5 degree goal is central to the global climate agreement that President Trump is now choosing to deviate from. Aftonbladet's leader Pernilla Ericsson writes about Trump's decision: "It slows down the whole world's work towards change and can, in the worst case, have a domino effect."

At the same time, cities, states and companies around the United States are joining the goals of the Paris Agreement, which Ericsson considers to be a sign that Trump's policies do not hinder ambitious climate work around the country.

EU-Cuba trade agreement

KD: Say no to the agreement with Cuba
Lars Adaktusson, Svenska Dagbladet

Civil Rights Defenders push for continued collective punishment of Cubans
Zoltan Tiroler, OmVärlden

"Sweden should not punish the whole Cuban people"
René Vázquez Díaz, Svenska Dagbladet

The Swedish-Cuban association has never criticized human rights violations in Cuba
Anders L Pettersson and Erik Jennische, OmVärlden

The protests in Chile

Sweden must demand that Sebastian Piñera stop the violence against the protesters
Carmen Blanco Valer and Francisco Contreras, Sydsvenskan

Violence should never be accepted - no matter who commits it
Jaime Penela, Gothenburg Post

Relations with China

The Government's China Strategy is not a strategy
Gunnar Hökmark, Svenska Dagbladet

L: High time to respond to the threat from China
Nyamko Sabuni, Mats Persson and Fredrik Malm, (Liberals)

Stop curling the dictatorship in Beijing
Erik Helmerson, Dagens Nyheter

Autonomous weapons

"Sweden must take a leading role in the work for a ban on deadly autonomous weapon systems."
Isabella Lövin and Ann Linde, Sydsvenskan

Climate change

"Facts and statistics about temperature rise and loss of biodiversity are not enough."
David Harnesk et al., Sydsvenskan

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