HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban government today rejected the publication of the US list of “state sponsors of terrorism” on Thursday, which includes the island along with Iran, Sudan and Syria, reported DPA news.
“The sole purpose of this exercise is to discredit Cuba and justify the continuation of the blockade, a failed policy that the entire world condemns,” said the Foreign Ministry in Havana.
Despite several calls to remove Cuba from the “blacklist”, Washington decided to keep it on as it has since 1982.
According to the explanation given by Washington’s annual report on terrorism, one of the reasons to keep Cuba on the list another year is the continued presence of members of the Basque separatist group ETA in its territory, although the State Department noted an official ‘distancing’ from the organization.
However, the report claims, “the government of Cuba continued to provide a safe haven for about two dozen members of ETA.”
Havana rejected the allegations as “weak arguments” and “excuses”. The US position ignores that accepting ETA activists “responded to a request of the governments concerned in the issue,” said Cuban Foreign Ministry.
Cuba also rejected arguments that pointed to the presence of guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on the island.
“It is an absurd accusation because since 2011, Cuba has accompanied, as a guarantor, the Colombian peace process,” said the Foreign Ministry. Then, starting November 2012, Cuba is the permanent seat of the peace negotiations between the FARC and the Colombian government.
In addition to the humiliation of being singled out as a country that sponsors terrorism, inclusion in this report has concrete repercussions for a nation: once on the list, a country is barred from accessing funding provided by organizations such as the World Bank and faces restrictions in the export and sale of weapons, among other things.
There had been much speculation in recent months with the possibility that Cuba would finally be dropped from the list, in part due to its role in hosting the peace negotiations with the FARC. In addition, the new Secretary of State, John Kerry, spoke in the past in favor of removing Cuba from the list, as part of a bid to improve bilateral relations.