Portuguese diplomat to head EU delegation in Cuba

  • Lusa
  • 4 August 2021

Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa will succeed Spanish Ambassador Alberto Navarro as head of the EU delegation in Havana from September 1.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, on Wednesday formally announced the appointments of 11 new heads of delegation, including that of Portuguese diplomat Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa as Ambassador to Cuba.

On July 16, a Community spokeswoman had already confirmed to Lusa that Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa had been chosen by the European diplomatic corps as the new head of the European Union delegation in Cuba, after leaving Venezuela last February when she was considered ‘persona non grata’.

She will succeed Spanish Ambassador Alberto Navarro as head of the EU delegation in Havana from September 1, as part of the rotation of heads of delegation and ambassadors of the Union in third countries, which led to the appointment of 10 new ambassadors who will take up their posts on the same date, in Algeria, Azerbaijan, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Iraq, Malawi, Nicaragua, Peru, Somalia and Thailand.

The appointment of Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa as head of the delegation in Cuba takes place in a context of political upheaval on the island, which is experiencing a serious economic and health crisis – with the pandemic out of control and a severe shortage of food, medicine and other basic products, as well as long power cuts – which has recently led to the largest demonstrations in decades, repressed by the authorities.

Alberto Navarro last February found himself embroiled in controversy when he signed a letter – signed by hundreds of personalities – asking US President Joe Biden to lift the embargo on Cuba, arguing that there was no longer a dictatorship there.

The Spanish official was even summoned to Brussels to give explanations, and High Representative Josep Borrell decided to keep him in office but reprimanded him for his “mistake”.

Also in late February 2020, following a decision by EU foreign ministers to extend the list of personalities linked to the Venezuelan regime targeted by sanctions, Nicolas Maduro’s regime considered Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa ‘persona non grata’, giving her 72 hours to leave the country, and the Portuguese diplomat, head of the EU delegation in Caracas since 2018, returned to Brussels in early March.