|09HELSINKI186||2009-05-20 15:19:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Helsinki|
1. (U) Econoff and Poloff discussed Finland's Cuba relations
with Kimmo Pulkkinen, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' (MFA)
Ambassador for the Unit for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Post provides the following responses to reftel A questions:
2. (C) -- Has the host country, in Post's opinion, worked to
promote the advancement of democracy and human rights in Cuba?
Pulkkinen reinforced the Government of Finland's (GOF)
interest in the advancement of democracy and human rights in
Cuba via their EU relationship with Cuba. The GOF supports
common EU positions and statements on human rights and
democracy in Cuba. Pulkkinen noted that the current EU
position is conditional with a one-year review and that the
EU,s current position is unified only on 'concept'. He
remarked that a troika meeting with Havana last week produced
a 'null' result.
-- Has the host country made public statements or undertaken
other governmental actions, such as resolutions in the
national assemblies condemning human rights abuses in Cuba;
or actions in support of civil society in Cuba through host
country's diplomatic missions or other fora?
The GOF works in concert with the EU on Cuban human rights
and civil society issues. Pulkkinen referred to the human
rights situation as regrettable, particularly noting the
limited release of political prisoners and the requirement
that they then leave the country.
-- Have there been any high-level diplomatic visits between
Cuba and the host country in the past six months?
A Cuban director-general level delegation visited Finland on
their own initiative in September 2008. Pulkkinen said that
most bilateral interaction has been informal and between
-- What is the nature of investments (and names, if known)
that host country businesses have in Cuba?
Pulkkinen stated that Finnish businesses have few if any
investments in Cuba.
-- Are there any bilateral trade agreements or other
cooperative agreements between host country and Cuba?
The GOF does not have bilateral trade agreements with Cuba,
but works through the EU delegation on trade and cooperation
Are there any exchange programs between host country and
Cuba, including but not limited to: scholarships for host
country nationals to study in Cuba; Cuban-paid medical travel
for host country nationals; and Cuban doctors working in host
-- Pulkkinen stated that there were no significant MFA-funded
exchange programs. Generally, Cubans in Finland are in
Finland as a result of economic or family-based immigration
and not as part of a Cuban or GOF-funded program. Pulkkinen
promised to follow up with further information on any GOF
Ministry of Education programs. Havana produced statistics on
doctors but Pulkkinen questioned the statistical context.