Cuba on the US’ State Sponsors of Terrorism list

Gustavo Petro and Antony Blinken

By Javier Herrera

HAVANA TIMES – It’s recently emerged that Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, unofficially asked the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to take Cuba off the country’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

To give you a little context, we need to point out that Cuba returned to the despicable list after peace discussions on the island, where Cuba acted as a guarantor and host for talks between the rebel and communist National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian Government came to an end.

On January 17, 2019, in the middle of peace conversations, the ELN exploded a car bomb against the training school facility for police officers in Bogota, leaving a casualty of 23 fatalities and over 100 people injured.

As a result of these events, the Colombian president at the time, Ivan Duque, put an end to the peace talks and put out a warrant for the arrest of guerrilla leaders, asking Cuba for their extradition. Cuba refused to extradite guerrilla commanders arguing that this hadn’t been considered in pre-conversation agreements and granted them asylum and protection instead, which was then used to put Cuba on the state sponsors of terrorism list.

In an unprecedented move, the Cuban Government informed – via its ambassador in Bogota, Jose Luis Ponce-, the Colombian Government about possible threats of attack in Bogota, organized by the terrorist group. After Cuba provided this information, the ELN issued a statement that denied responsibility and the organization of these attacks, but exonerated its leaders protected in Cuba saying that they are there to protect the peace, not to plan combat actions or attacks. Meanwhile, the Colombian Government has taken advantage of the situation to repeat its request for extradition, which Cuba has once again denied.

Once Gustavo Petro came into power, a former guerrilla and an old friend of the Cuban regime, the Colombian Government has tried to influence the withdrawal of Cuba from this list. Thus, Petro now joins many Colombian congress members who have sent a letter to US vice-president, Kamala Harris, president of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and president of the United Nations General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi, asking Cuba to be withdrawn from the state sponsors of terrorism list.

If anyone wanted to do a moderately serious analysis of Cuba’s position when it comes to terrorism, we just need to go back to how the current regime came into power, as well as its international relations.

The Cuban Government came into power in 1959, after a bloody civil war, led by an illegitimate government and a rural guerilla group, with representation in the cities that used terrorist tactics to wreak havoc and destabilize the government.

After the guerrilla forces won and came into power, as early as 1959, Cuba’s military expeditions began.

While Cuba only recognizes its military involvement on five occasions:  Algeria, Syria, Congo, Angola and Ethiopia, Cuban troops have been documented fighting on at least 11 occasions in different parts of the world. Standing out is the failed expedition to Panama with the objective of sparking a revolutionary movement in 1959; the failed expedition to the Dominican Republic to overthrow Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship, in alliance with the Dominican exile community; and in 1963 and 1967, failed expeditions of Cuban military to take power in Venezuela and instate a government friendly for Cuba and guarantee the island’s oil supply.

We can add to Cuba’s military adventures, the creation, training, logistical support, and even military leadership of guerrilla forces around the world, with a special focus on Latin America.

In terms of Cuba’s relationship with Latin America, it’s important to point out that Cuba promoted rural and urban guerrilla forces in places like Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, and in other places on different occasions.

Everybody knows about Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s guerrilla adventures in Bolivia, after failing in his attempt to lead an insurrection in Peru. It’s also a well-known fact that Cuba recruited and trained the guerrilla force created by journalist Jorge Ricardo Masetti in north-eastern Argentina.

It’s also publicly known that dozens of terrorists from different organizations have sought safe refuge in Havana over the past 60 years, including:

-JoAnne Deborah Chesimard (Assata Shakur) who is the only woman on the FBI’s most wanted fugitives list.

– Charlie Hill, a Vietnam veteran, Hill is wanted for the murder of a policeman in New Mexico and hijacking a TWA plane.

– Joseba Sarrionandia, a Basque writer and former member of terrorist organization ETA, who broke out of jail 31 years ago, his whereabouts unknown, but he has said he’s been living “a normal life” in Havana for years. He returned to Spain in 2021.

If the evidence provided above doesn’t seem enough to prove Cuba’s involvement in international terrorist plots, then you also have the island’s involvement in subversive actions in Chile, Bolivia, and Colombia in recent years, where Cuban diplomatic personnel have even been caught with large sums of cash amidst violent protests.

But if there’s even a shred of doubt that the Cuban Government belongs on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, you just have to look at the current Government’s unconditional support for the Russian invasion of the sovereign republic of Ukraine.

Lastly, I’d like to say that Cuba hasn’t restricted its terrorist efforts to foreign lands. Cuban citizens are also a target of the ruling regime’s terrorist attacks.

Over the past two years, civil protests have broken out across the whole country as a result of the widespread crisis that ordinary Cubans have been suffering. Protests have been brutally repressed by a government that doesn’t have the financial means to buy ambulances or medicine but does have the means to build hotels and buy the latest riot gear.

Protesters have been persecuted by intelligence corps, arrested, beaten, infected with deadly diseases such as the case of Ariel Ruiz Urquiola who was infected with HIV. After being tortured physically and psychologically, protesters caught have been charged with long sentences in rigged trials.

Anti-government journalists are regularly threatened, beaten, locked up, had their basic human rights violated and even been forced into exile.  Any dissident voice is persecuted and silenced in the worst of ways.

The abovementioned conditions have sent the Cuban people off in masses through the Central American jungle and in rafts crossing the dangerous Florida Strait. This exodus has been profitable for the Cuban Government as they’ve hiked up prices of plane tickets and accommodation and even created a network of human traffickers who facilitate the journey to the US.

After analyzing the above, I would like the Colombian president, or someone who defends his points of view, to tell me whether they really believe Cuba should be removed from the US’ State Sponsor of Terrorism list. I would like to know whether his request comes from being aware and having civil spirit or whether it comes from his love relationship with the Left and if the Cuban Government has asked him to do this. Does Gustavo Petro really regret his terrorist and guerrilla past? Or has he just chosen to follow his Leftist terrorist activism under the guise of politics?

Every one of the arguments in this article might and will be analyzed in-depth in future articles, with evidence and witness accounts. Until then, look at the facts yourself, seek out information and make up your own mind about whether Cuba should remain on the list or be removed from it.

Read more from Cuba here in Havana Times



5 thoughts on “Cuba on the US’ State Sponsors of Terrorism list

  • Michael,
    You make valid points which I entirely agree with.
    I am also in favour of the right to peaceful protest in Cuba and everywhere else.
    The USA’s arbitrary list is made of countries the USA is not allied with. There are plenty of U.S. allies who sponsor terror but are not on the list. How about Saudi Arabia?
    But of course they have sh*t loads of oil and are a U.S ally.
    You mention Nelson Mandela. He was labelled a terrorist back when the apartheid regime of South Africa was also one of the USA‘s allies.

  • I trust that readers will remember that Nelson Mandela pointed out that if it had not been for the Cubans in Angola repelling the earlier South African incursions into neighboring countries, then the post apartheid South Africa of today would not exist. The US supported overthrow of Latin American democratically elected governments leaves them in a very poor position to call Cuba a sponsor of terrorism. I may not support all of the political and economic policies of Cuba, but their impact pales in comparison to that of the USA. So I agree with Nike. The USA should take a hands off, if not supportive position with Cuba and allow self-determination for the Cuban people. And the Cuban government needs to study Marti again and respect that it is the duty of citizens to protest. But, the USA has no justification to put Cuba on a terrorist list. Back off and let Cubans decide on their own future without pressure.

  • On Nick is upset because USA has the Cuban Dictatorship in the list sponsors of Terrorism The is old man is predictable as they come

  • Is the USA on the USA’s list of state sponsors of terrorism?
    Coz they’ve sure sponsored a helluva lot of it over the last few decades.
    Having stated this fact, I have to say that they’ve eased up of late.
    But the very idea of the the USA having a list of state sponsors of terrorism that doesn’t include themselves is the very height of hypocrisy.

  • Javier Herrera wrote: “ It’s also publicly known that dozens of terrorists from different organizations have sought safe refuge in Havana over the past 60 years, including:” . . . and he goes on to list three individuals.

    As a Canadian, let me add another Canadian organization and more Canadian names which should have been on his list. First some historical background. In the early1970s in Quebec, Canada there existed an organization named “Front de libération du Québec”, FLQ for short. Their aim was to “liberate” the province of Quebec from the rest of Canada and become a separate country.

    In separate cells throughout the province the FLQ conducted terrorists activities such as bombings and other illegal acts. The most notorious of these criminal activities involved the kidnapping of two prominent persons namely, the British trade commissioner James Cross, and the Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte. In response the then Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the father of the present Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau evoked the War Measures Act. This gave the federal government unrestricted national powers to arrest and detain any person deemed suspicious.

    As time passed, unfortunately, on October 17, 1970 Pierre Laporte was found dead in the trunk of a car killed by the FLQ.

    More time passed and in the early hours of December 03, 1970 police officers and heavily armed soldiers surrounded a house in Montreal where, for nearly two months, the British diplomat James Cross was being held hostage by the FLQ. Their situation was hopeless but they were defiant. They threatened to kill Cross if the security forces stormed the house. The FLQ were heavily armed.

    To spare Cross’s life, the authorities agreed to grant the kidnappers safe passage to Havana, Cuba in exchange for the safe release of the diplomat. In retrospect, this was a wise move. The tense, malevolent, national crisis was brought to a peaceful resolution. James Cross was freed after being held hostage for 60 days by the FLQ terrorists.

    The five kidnappers who chose to go to Cuba in exchange for Cross’s life were: Jacques Cossette-Trudel, Louise Cossette-Trudel, Jacques Lanctôt, Marc Carbonneau, and Yves Langlois.

    According to many news reports exile in Cuba was a nightmare for the kidnappers. They were confined to hotels in Havana for months at a time. According to Legion Magazine, “Jacques Cossette-Trudel and his wife Louise Lanctôt renounced terrorism, which caused a rift between them and Louise’s brother Jacques, the leader of the gang.

    By the fall of 1973, the exiles were all desperate to escape Cuba. In July 1974, the Cubans finally provided them with travel documents and airfare allowing them to fly to Prague and from there to Paris. (Should the James Cross kidnappers have been granted safe passage to Cuba?, September 2, 2020, Legion Magazine).

    The irony of all ironies, Canadian terrorists renounce terrorism in of all places: Cuba? Go figure.

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