Biden Should Keep Cuba on State Sponsors of Terrorism List
“The list is a unilateral designation by the United States government towards countries that the State Department deems to be supporting international terrorism.”
By Rolf Niederstrasser, Political analyst
HAVANA TIMES – In late January, the Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect (ACERE) urged President Biden in a letter to remove Cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism after a U.S. delegation met with Cuban officials to resume talks on law enforcement issues. The organization stated that the Caribbean nation was placed on the list for political reasons rather than pose a real threat to national security.
While Cuba, an impoverished nation with a fleeing population, can appear harmless to an economic and military superpower like the United States, looks can deceive. Havana’s real threat is unconventional: Cuba continues to recruit students and professors in American universities as spies, urging them to obtain government positions, steal, and resell state secrets to US enemies, while actively sponsoring terrorism around the world. In addition to behaving as an information broker, they subvert democratic institutions in Latin America through cultural populism, polarizing societies, bringing authoritarian left-wing governments to power, and destabilizing relations with the United States.
Once a Soviet vessel that waged proxy wars and covert operations aiding leftist movements in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, the collapse of the Soviet Union marked the inevitable economic collapse of Cuba due to its reliance on Soviet imports and the mismanagement of the economy. The Intelligence Directorate agents, or DI in its Spanish initials, were once Soviet KGB-trained officials and enforced many of their operations in Latin America, becoming an effective ideological and economic tool for Cuba after the collapse of the Eastern bloc. Unlike the CIA or European agencies that operate with big budgets and technological capabilities, Cuban spy networks have instead relied on forging alliances throughout the world to advance the goal of what they call their “struggle against US imperialism.” It includes recruiting people in academia, the arts, religious leaders, celebrities, armed rebels and extremist organizations, and politicians.
The creation of the São Paulo Forum in 1990 by Fidel Castro, together with a young Lula Da Silva, attracted radical left-wing parties, aspirants, and leaders, taught them how to subvert their population, create social polarization, and rise to power. Still today, with recurring Pink Tides in the region, the Cuban regime has regained a lifeline of influence and economic aid from sympathizing governments. At the same time, they have continuously pushed the failed agenda of “Socialism of the 21st Century,” a Marxist revisionist ideology that intends to solve structural issues in Latin America like poverty, inequality, and gender issues, but finalized in the crackdown of democratic institutions all over Latin America and compromised US relationships with governments and interests in the hemisphere.
Additionally, the São Paulo Forum has not only maintained ties with terrorist and drug trafficking groups. Cuba also harbors rogue factions of FARC, which walked out of the peace negotiations with the Colombian government, two members of the armed Basque terrorist group ETA of Spain, ELN leaders responsible for the 2019 bombings in Colombia’s capital that killed two dozen people and injured many more, and US fugitives of the FBIs Most Wanted Terrorists List that have escaped prosecution for murder and terrorist attacks like Assata Shakur and Víctor Manuel Gerena.
While this forum remains lesser known, it is vital to understand the corrupting impact Cuba and other far-left governments have on the region today. Colombia, for example, a key US ally in the region has been the target of destabilizing activities related to the drug trade, sponsored by Venezuela, Cuba’s most important strategic partner, and has maintained close ties and financially supported ELN and FARC groups.
Amid current US challenges, like Covid-19 economic recovery, global competition with China, and the threat emerging from Russia due to the war in Ukraine, the liberation of one of the most damaging spies in US history occurred early this year without much notice. For twenty years as a Cuban operative, Ana Montes damaged irreparable US intelligence operations. In order to understand how the Cuban government infiltrated the United States, it is vital to analyze the Montes case.
Recruited while she was still in graduate school, Cuban intelligence brought her into their radar because of her vocal disapproval of American foreign policy toward Central America. They later suggested to her which positions within the US government to apply for. Two decades later, as a top Cuba analyst within the US intelligence community, she delivered classified information by memorizing and later encrypting it. Up to the moment of her capture, Montes rejected any monetary compensation for spying because she was a true believer in the Cuban cause.
Other similar cases in the last decades were that of Walter Kendall Myers and his wife and the Cuban Five. Former top US spy catcher Christopher Simmons has stated that Cuba is the prime intelligence trafficker to the world, having over two hundred agents in the United States representing their main revenue stream and putting in danger American lives around the world.
The bottom line is that Cuba is an enemy of the United States. Its destabilizing strategy is ingrained within its ideological core and is on its part, immensely profitable. Keeping Cuba on the list of sponsors of terrorism is a step to make America safer and weaken the oppressive Cuban state. Instead of appeasement, the accompanied sanctions would limit the ability of leaders and their family members to financially profit and be held accountable for crimes from illicit activities by imposing, for example, financial and travel restrictions, removal of diplomatic immunity, and a ban on contraband arms-related exports and sales, a crime Cuba was caught in when a ship with undeclared Cuban arms got seized in the Panama Canal in 2013 coming from North Korea.
[Editor’s Note: Not surprisingly, the US does not include itself on its State Sponsors of Terrorism List despite a long history of its well-known destabilization activities across the globe.]
3 thoughts on “Biden Should Keep Cuba on State Sponsors of Terrorism List”
Mr. Wiiggin youmentioned that countries have the right to self determination, agree. But the cubans have not had that opportunity in 63 years. They have a Dictator that is selected , not elected.
You state that the Embargo does more harm than good, and I say, What embargo? Do you know that Cuba buys food and medicines from US at the toon of $300 millios a year. Do you know that the reason for the so called embargo is that the Dictator confiscated all properties in Cuba without compensation?
Do you know that the real “Blockade” in Cuba is from the Dictator to the cubans that does not allow them to own private property or to have a business and to grow the business to levcel of their capacities!
The probllem with Cuba is complete lack of freedoms for all cubans , to have a Rule of law, Private property and respect for Human Rights in a Free and Democartic society.
Just wanted to leave some historical prospective the decision to keep or remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list is a complex political issue that has been debated for many years. The list is compiled by the US State Department and includes countries that are determined to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.
Cuba was first added to the list in 1982 under President Ronald Reagan, and it remained on the list until 2015, when President Barack Obama removed it as part of a diplomatic thaw between the US and Cuba. However, in 2020, the Trump administration added Cuba back to the list, citing its support for Venezuela’s government and Colombian rebel groups.
The decision to keep or remove Cuba from the list is largely based on the US government’s assessment of Cuba’s current actions and policies. Supporters of keeping Cuba on the list argue that it continues to provide support for terrorist groups and that its government violates human rights and suppresses political dissent.
However, critics of the designation argue that it is politically motivated and that Cuba does not meet the criteria for being a state sponsor of terrorism. They also point to the negative impact of the designation on Cuba’s economy and its people.
Ultimately, the decision on whether to keep Cuba on the list will be up to the Biden administration and its assessment of Cuba’s actions and policies.
What planet is Rolf from. History shows that Cuba has been much more open to negotiation than the USA and the USA and Cuba have cooperated in many areas and Cuba has reached out to assist the US in their times of difficulty. However , with the convoluted US version of democracy, many peaceful overtures from Cuba have been rejected. Some US diplomats have resigned in disgust with their county’s duplicity. They may have their differences in choice of economic and political models, but countries have a right to self determination. Both countries have been at fault from time to time, but one sided views such as those from Rolf are not helpful. Even the FBI acknowledges that the embargo does more harm than good. Perhaps Rolf should read “Back Channels to Cuba” by LeoGrande and Kornbluh to get a better understanding of history.
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