Foreign minister attacked for calling Cuba a paradise

Søren Pind attacked the new foreign minister for his comment on Cuba but faced a wave of backlash

The same week that Barack Obama's political rivals feigned outrage after the US president shook hands with Cuban president Raul Castro, the communist island was the focus of a furore involving the new Danish foreign minister.

Holger K. Nielsen (SF) took over as foreign minister this week from Villy Søvndal (SF) and the two exchanged gifts yesterday in a traditional ceremony in front of reporters.

Nielsen's gift to Søvndal was a hammock and the album 'Buena Vista Social Club' performed by Cuban musicians.

“So if you don’t have time to go to Cuba, you can lie in the hammock between two trees and listen to the CD and dream of Cuban beaches and the Cuban paradise,” Nielsen told Søvndal.

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No paradise
But Cuba is no paradise, according to Venstre’s foreign spokesperson Søren Pind.

Writing on Facebook, Pind said that right-wing parties Venstre, Konservative and Dansk Folkeparti had immediately called Nielsen into a parliamentary consultation over his remark.

“The statement is so offensive that it cannot be allowed to stand,” Pind wrote. “Denmark’s new foreign minister is talking about a dictatorial paradise. It is simply unacceptable.”

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