Cuba Prioritizes Exit from US Terrorism List

Gustavo Machin, the deputy head of the Cuban delegation.
Gustavo Machin, the deputy head of the Cuban delegation traveling to Washington.

HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — Cuban authorities said today they are awaiting the United States “answer” in the forthcoming negotiations to their demand to be taken off the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism, as a prerequisite for the restoration of bilateral diplomatic relations.

“We hope to receive answers,” said Gustavo Machin, the deputy head of the Cuban delegation, shortly before his trip to the United States for a new round of talks on Friday.

“It would be a contradiction” that his country resumed diplomatic relations with the United States while still on that list, said Machin.

Meanwhile, the United States wants to separate negotiations with the Cuban government to reopen embassies in Washington and Havana from the review process being carried out by the US State Department on whether to take Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

“They are two separate procedures. We don’t link them, said State Department sources today who requested anonymity.

Machin noted another pending issue is the solution to the financial problems of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, which currently has no bank willing to handle its accounts because of the difficulties caused by the US embargo.

Back in 1982 the US government placed Cuba on its list of States which it considers sponsors of terrorism. Currently there are four countries on the list: Iran, Sudan, Syria and Cuba.

The list brings with it sanctions and trade restrictions. In the case of Cuba most of these had already existed for decades, since the US embargo was imposed in the early 1960s.

Although the Castro government has a long history of supporting insurgent movements in Latin America and Africa, in recent decades Cuba has distanced itself in practice from armed struggle.

Observers note Cuba’s current role as host of the peace process between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government as an argument to remove Cuba from the US list.

Human Rights Issues

Machin also said the Cuban side takes to Washington “proposals” to debate human rights, an issue that overshadowed the first negotiations between the two countries in mid-January in Havana.

The US delegation led by Under Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson argued then that they would continue pressuring Cuba over the lack of civil liberties on the island.

The Cuban negotiating team led by diplomat Josefina Vidal responded that her country is also concerned about human rights issues in the United States.

The Cuban government traditionally equates human rights to collective social progress as universal access to education and health, and rejects linking it to individual political rights such as freedom of speech and assembly.

The delegations of the United States and Cuba will meet Friday in Washington to continue the historic diplomatic negotiations opened in January in Havana.

Both countries unexpectedly announced in mid-December they would resume diplomatic relations after decades of hostility and ideological confrontation.

At the Washington encounter the goal is to draw up a roadmap leading to the reopening of embassies in the respective capitals.

Photo de portada: Harold Cesar Ferrer Perez

12 thoughts on “Cuba Prioritizes Exit from US Terrorism List

  • Hi,

    For those of you who are following the normalization of US-Cuba relations, the State Department has sent a recommendation to Obama that Cuba be delisted as a terror sponsor, meaning that Obama will strike Cuba off the blacklist (
    As I have said before, shipping arms to another country is not terrorism, and close ties with Iran or Syria do not make a country a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
    As Obama takes Cuba off the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, Wells Fargo and other banks will now have more incentive to start doing business in Cuba, and the Treasury Department will rectify the fines imposed on JP Morgan and BNP Paribas for doing business in Cuba.

  • How many of those insurgent/guerrilla groups deliberately targeted civilians? Though some bombed economic targets and caused some civilian deaths through incompetence or accident most were based in the countryside and solely targeted military installations. That is a far cry from the al quaida Isis situation.

    The drug cartels have links with the Colombian and Mexican governments who have embassies in the US. Canada has a close relationship with the US, then following your kind of logic, Canada should be put on the list of terrorist sponsoring countries.

    Cuba gives some support to Iran as a country that is also under sanction and is stopped from developing its nuclear energy, but is also critical. They have criticized the holocaust denial and antisemitism of the Iranian regime. It seems that you don’t want Cuba to have a foreign policy that differs from the US.

    My point about the IRA wasn’t to highlight US double standards, but just how flawed the list you provided is. I mean they had a pretty much unlimited source of funding in the US, yet the list mentions the opening of an office in Havana.

  • You attempt to draw a distinction between “terrorists” and “insurgents or guerrillas fighting against military dictatorships”. Do you excuse militant groups of their terrorist actions if you agree with their goals?

    The goals of the militant group do not matter. The nature of the regime they are fighting against does not matter. The only thing that matters is the nature of their actions. An insurgency which assassinates civilians or plants bombs on civilian targets is by definition, a terrorist organization. Period. To provide support to such a group is to support a terrorist group. Period.

    The connection between drug smuggling and terrorism is well established. Groups like Hezbollah, the Taliban and FARC have a long record of trading drugs for weapons and money. These groups have established relationships with well-known drug cartels in Mexico, Pakistan and Colombia. Hezbollah also has a well established military relationship with Iran. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. Hezbollah operates a base in Venezuela and has an office in Havana. Iran & Cuba have recently established close diplomatic relations. Aren’t you the least bit curious to know what the basis of these diplomatic relationships with terrorist groups and a fellow state sponsor of terrorism is?

    Perhaps, as you say, some of these connections have not been proven in court. Yet, some have been proven in court. But the fact the relationships exist is cause for serious concern. If Cuba wants to get off the State Supporters of Terrorism list, they had better come clean.

    The significant point about the illegal North Korean weapons trade deal is that Cuba was deliberately violating UN sanctions, and lying about it. That goes to credibility and trustworthiness.

    Finally, the fact that the US has been hypocritical on the issue of supporting or ignoring terrorist groups is irrelevant to the fact that Cuba has a long history of supporting terrorist groups and continues to provide support today.

  • Dani, Mexico is having a bit of a problem with a certain group that certainly is affecting the US in a major way. I agree with your post but it’s mainly
    just a matter of weeks before Cuba will no longer be on the terrorist list.
    This discussion is going to be ancient history within that time.

  • I think that those “brave Batista and Mafia saints” were none too brave nor harldly saints. In fact, I have found that the first generation of Cuba exiles were generally white, racist and elitist and if given the chance would have offered Cubans a government almost as corrupt and indifferent as the Castros. That said, I support a Cuba that truly reflects the will of the Cuban people as manifested through a free press and open and independent elections. There, I typed it with a perfectly straight face.

  • I would go easy on the propaganda sites Griffin.
    The list of so called terrorist groups that Cuba supports is flawed. To start with many of these groups weren’t terrorists but insurgents or guerrillas fighting against military dictatorships. Secondly political support for the aims of a group doesn’t mean sponsorship of terrorism. Thirdly they provide no evidence of sponsorship of terrorism eg they state about the IRA – “It’s Latin American headquarters are in Havana”. No mention of the fact that they have always had offices in the US, got financed heavily by US citizens and enjoyed backing from major US political figures.
    Whether Cuba had links to drug smuggling is far from proved, but has nothing to do with terrorism. Personally I think that given the embargo they would be justified in pursuing illegal trade as legitimate trade is blocked to them.
    Your second link only says that Cuba shares some intelligence. Again no evidence is provided. How many Arab states sponsor Hamas and Hezbollah and yet aren’t on the list? The North Korean episode has nothing to do with the subject – how many times do you need to be told that North Korea isn’t on the list of states sponsors of terrorism.
    There are numerous fugitives on either side. Joanne Chesimard was only designated a terrorist in 2014 in order to justify Cuba’s inclusion on the list. How many former IRA members are living in the US?

  • A “piss-an banana republic,” Moses? What does that say about all those brave Batista and Mafia saints who were unable to hold it and have also been unable to recapture it despite being able to hide behind the skirts of the world superpower for all these decades? Uh, just asking, Moses. I’m sure you can answer that question with a straight face.

  • If by saying “educated the Cuban population as to how U.S. imperialism works” you mean to say taught Cubans to covet all things faux-riche like fake Louis Vuitton handbags and iPhone 6s and Playstations and UnderArmor sports gear, then Fidel has done a masterful job. Walk down La Rampa between the Hilton and the ICRT building and you will see American Imperialism at its finest. Cuba has been conquered. As more US tourists visit the island and US businesses set up shop, it only gets worse (better from my perspective). You, of course, have no idea what I am talking about since you have never been to Cuba. You have invented this fantasy Cuba up in your head based upon Castro propaganda and your own anti-US biases. By the way, if you measure the accomplishments (personal wealth, living conditions, education, etc.) of the Mariel exiles today against the accomplishments of a like number of Cubans who remained in Cuba, you would find that the saying “He who laughs last, laughs longest” is in full effect.

  • Perhaps they turned over a new leaf?

  • Over the past 5 decades Cuba has provided extensive support for a long list of terrorist groups. The assistance Cuba provided has included training, funding, weapons and diplomatic support.

    Cuba continues to support the Colombian narco-terrorist group FARC. Castro-apologists will jump to point out that Cuba is sponsoring negotiations between the Colombian government and FARC. Indeed, they are. But so what? FARC continues to engage in terrorist attacks in Colombia. Last month, the Colombian police intercepted a shipment of Russian made RPGs enroute to FARC.

    In January of 2015, Leamsy Salazar, who had previously worked for late President Hugo Chávez ’s security detail, is currently in Washington, where he is expected to provide witness testimony implicating Mr. Cabello in organizing cocaine-smuggling operations controlled by Venezuela’s military. Significantly, Salazar has implicated Cuba in the drug smuggling ring.

    Jaime Suchlicki has documented the support the Cuban military provides to Hezbollah and Hamas, through a military base in Venezuela. Hezbollah recently opened and office in Havana. Cuba also continues to provide support to the Palestinian terrorist group, the PFLP.

    In 2012, the Castro regime was caught smuggling weapons out of Cuba on a North Korean vessel in violation of UN sanctions. Cuba lied to the international community about the content of the vessel. The official UN Report on “Cuba-North Korea Illegal Weapons Trafficking,” published in March 2013, revealed “a comprehensive, planned strategy to conceal the existence and nature of the cargo.”

    Numerous US fugitives continued to live on the island, including Joanne Chesimard, wanted in the United States for the murder in 1973 of a New Jersey police officer and living as a guest of the Castro regime since 1979.

    Frank Terpil, a renegade CIA agent turned arms trader and allegedly assassin for hire to Libyan dictator Gaddafi, lives in Havana.

    If Cuba wants to be removed from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, they will have to seriously address these and many other similar cases. Sadly, President Obama has already stated he wants Cuba off the list and has asked his hapless Secretary of State, John Kerry, to review the designation and make a recommendation within 6 months. It sounds like the decision has already been made to give Cuba a pass on their support for terrorism. I expect some deal will be cooked up in which the Cuban authorities round up Chesimard and Terpil and maybe a few more aging fugitives, and hand them over to the FBI. That will provide Obama with the fig leaf he needs to claim Cuba is now “terrorism free”.

  • It is hypocritical in the extreme for the GOUSA , the leading state terrorist in the world to call Cuba a terrorist-aiding state when all they are doing is challenging the world’s biggest terrorist .
    The U.S. government has produced no proof, zip, zero, nada, nothing…… over the past 50 years that would prove that smear.
    The United States government will continue to look petty, bullying, imperial, cruel and foolish by continuing their 54 year strategy of creating an internal rebellion against the revolution through island-wide created poverty
    While succeeding in creating the poverty they THOUGHT necessary, the policy failed because Fidel, long before he became “nearly mummified” , educated the Cuban population as to how U.S. imperialism works .
    That education has deep roots across the island and the truths it contained have had a way of strengthening Cuba’s struggle against the imperial onslaught that few other nations out of the 70 or so in which the U.S. has intervened have been able to withstand. U.S.
    Fidel could die tomorrow but would still live a very long time in the hearts and minds of his people IF the revolution carries out the promises it made to create a socialist society.
    That’s why his enemies hate him . He outfoxed them at every turn.
    Mariel was my favorite,.

  • The Castros deserve credit for having what Cubans call “cara dura”. This little piss-ant banana republic wants to make demands on the US? Hahaha! So if we don’t take them off the list does that mean they will walk away? Hahaha! Oooh, we are so scared! The Castros need this deal like they need oxygen. Maybe more given Fidel’s near-mummified state. On the other hand, other than the feather in Obama’s cap that comes with opening an embassy in Cuba, for the US….who cares?

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