US Keeps Cuba on its List of Terrorist Countries

Wilfredo Cancio Isla (Café Fuerte)

Photo taken from Regla accross the bay from Havana by Juan Suarez.

HAVANA TIMES — The United States has included Cuba in its list of countries that sponsor terrorism for the thirty-second consecutive year, leaving intact the policy of isolation that has characterized the two countries’ bilateral relations for fifty years.

The US Department of State published on Wednesday its Annual Terrorism Report, which places Cuba alongside Iran, Sudan and Syria.

The document used to designate Cuba is merely three paragraphs long and repeats claims drawn from reports published in previous years, while the reports on the other three nations accused of sponsoring terrorism are detailed and long, with comments on recent incidents.

The arguments used to accuse Raul Castro’s government of terrorism are grounded in two basic points:

The fact Cuba offered safe haven to Patria Vasca y Libertad (ETA) and Colombian Armed Revolutionary Forces (FARC) members for a very long time and continues to allow fugitives from US justice to reside on the island, offering them homes, ration booklets and medical attention.

There is, however, no mention whatsoever of the incident involving the North Korean vessel Chong Chon Gang, captured in Panama carrying a cargo of Cuban weapons in July of last year, an incident which prompted a special UN report that compromised Raul Castro’s government.

The US government report acknowledges that Cuba has tried to distance itself from ETA and mentions that at least eight of some 20 members of that organization were repatriated in cooperation with the Spanish government.

The Department of State report indicates that ETA currently has as little as a hundred members but that the organization cannot be said to have been completely dismantled. Washington also points out that there are ETA militants secretly living in Venezuela.

Peace Talks

The chapter devoted to Cuba also acknowledged as a positive development that Havana has hosted the peace talks between the FARC and Colombian government, in coordination with representatives from Venezuela, Norway and the Red Cross.

DepartEstadoIt also repeated the exact same paragraph from the 2012 report: “There is no indication that the Cuban government provided terrorist groups with weapons or military training.”

In contrast to the 2011 and 2012 documents, this year’s report made no mention of “strategic deficiencies” in Cuba’s banking control mechanisms and of Cuba’s previous refusal to directly collaborate with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in the struggle against money laundering and financial transactions in support of international terrorism.

The removal of these comments seems to respond to the fact Raul Castro’s government issued an anti-terrorist law at the close of last year to “support the committed global struggle against money laundering, the financing of terrorism, the proliferation of weapons and the movement of ill-gotten capitals.”

Decree Law 317 of the Council State came into effect on January 23 this year. It regulates the operations and structures of Cuba’s Bureau of Financial Investigations (DGIOF), tasked with enforcing compliance with the principles and strategies aimed at preventing the use of Cuban banks and financial institutions “as a means for legitimating assets secured through illicit activities.”

12 thoughts on “US Keeps Cuba on its List of Terrorist Countries

  • May 4, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    The US is the most prolific terrorist nation on the planet, they’ve got some nerve putting inflammatory labels like that on Cuba as they are trying to defend themselves from the US’ oppressive economic assault.

  • May 4, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    The US doesn’t sell arms to their allies?

  • May 4, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Very sad and as the USA keeps this hypocrisy alive we are only losing more and more friends throughout the world. Democracy is not having a group of people located in strategic states dictate such absurdity. I love my Cuban friends throughout the US but please stop the insanity! If we had no embargo Cuba would not be held hostage by the Castro brothers so we’re all on the same page but are reading books from different planets.

  • May 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Your rant is light on facts.

    Huber Matos, who fought in the Escambrey against the Batista dictatorship was thrown in prison for 20 years for daring to call Fidel Castro a communist. His case is by no means unique.

    According to Matos, “prison was a long agony from which I emerged alive because of God’s will. I had to go on hunger strikes, mount other types of protests. Terrible. On and off, I spent a total of sixteen years in solitary confinement, constantly being told that I was never going to get out alive, that I had been sentenced to die in prison. They were very cruel, to the fullest extent of the word… I was tortured on several occasions, I was subjected to all kinds of horrors, all kinds, including the puncturing of my genitals. Once during a hunger strike a prison guard tried to crush my stomach with his boot… Terrible things.”

    The prisoners at the US Guantanamo Bay detention camp are not kept in solitary confinement. Only a few were subjected to waterboarding. In December 2009, the U.S. reported that, since 2002, more than 550 detainees had been released. The report recommended releasing 126 current detainees to their homes or to a third country, prosecuting 36 in either federal court or by a military commission, and holding 48 indefinitely under the laws of war. In addition, 30 Yemenis were approved for release if security conditions in their home country improve.

    You mention Israel saying “they send in their fighter-bomber jet, tanks, bulldozers and raze everything in sight, murder children of any age”. Actually that sounds much more like the army of the Syrian dictator Bashir al Assad who has been praised as a dear friend and ally of Cuba.

    Israel has never cut off the water supply to Gaza, although the Hamas terrorists who run the strip like a prison have stolen water pipes to make rockets and bombs.

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