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Cuba Demands Removal from List of State Sponsors of Terrorism

Cuba Demands Removal from List of State Sponsors of Terrorism
Communist country continues to sponsor terror groups around the world
BY: Daniel Wiser
May 2, 2014 4:21 pm

Cuba’s communist government is demanding its removal from a U.S. list of
state sponsors of terrorism despite its continued support for regimes
that sponsor terrorism worldwide.

Cuba was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1982 and remained
so in the State Department’s release this week of its most recent
country reports on terrorism.

The report noted that Cuba “has long provided safe haven” to members of
the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) separatist group in , as
well as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Both are
still considered terrorist groups by the United States and European
Union but have participated in peace talks in recent years. Cuba also
continues to “harbor fugitives wanted in the United States,” the report

The report did not mention Cuba’s continued support for terrorism and
violent repression directed by the governments of , North
Korea, Iran, and Russia. Still, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry said it should
be taken off the list.

“The Foreign Ministry energetically rejects the manipulation of a matter
as sensitive as international terrorism by turning it into an instrument
of policy against Cuba and it demands that our country be definitively
excluded from this spurious, unilateral and arbitrary list,” the
government said in a statement.

The State Department responded that it had “no current plans” to remove
Cuba from the list.

Cuba has most recently come under scrutiny for its role in advising the
Venezuelan military. The communist island has reportedly sent hundreds
of military advisers to Venezuela in exchange for about 100,000 barrels
of oil a day.

Critics say the current repression of protesters by Venezuela’s
government is reminiscent of the “Cuban model.” Trained and well-armed
civilian groups known as “Bolivarian Circles” or “colectivos”—akin to
the Castros’ “committees to defend the revolution”—are accused of
killing several protesters in the last three months. About 40 people
total have died in the demonstrations against Venezuelan
Nicolas Maduro.

Additionally, a North Korean ship last year attempted to smuggle 25
containers of Cuban military hardware—including MiG-21 aircraft, air
defense systems, and missiles—through the Panama Canal.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), who fled from Cuba with her family
as a child, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon that Cuba
“continues to pose a national security threat to the United States.”

“Just recently, the Castro regime has been responsible for training the
‘colectivos’ in Venezuela that violate and murder innocent
civilians and Cuba was caught trying to ship military equipment to North
Korea in violation of many United Nations Security Council resolutions,”
she said. “The tyranny in Havana is also guilty of harboring terrorists,
providing safe haven for American fugitives, and building a
sophisticated spy network that seeks to undermine our national security
interests at every turn.”

Cuba reportedly launched a broad campaign by its intelligence agents to
pose as defectors at U.S. embassies around the world and keep tabs on
U.S. intelligence agents, a program that intensified after the Sep. 11,
2001, terrorist attacks and continues. The Castro brothers also harbor
more than 70 U.S. fugitives, including a former CIA operative who
allegedly assisted former Libyan Muammar Gaddafi with arms
transfers and assassinations of his enemies abroad.

Cuba’s close ties with Iran and Russia receive even less attention.

Cuba’s foreign minister said earlier this year that the country supports
Iran’s nuclear rights. Iran—one of the most prolific state sponsors of
terrorism in the world—has trained, armed, and financed terrorist groups
in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, and Africa, according to
the State Department report.

The criticized Cuba this week for its support of Russia
in the ongoing Ukraine crisis. Pro-Russian separatists in eastern
Ukraine, widely believed to be acting at the behest of Moscow, shot down
two Ukrainian helicopters on Friday and violently clashed with pro-Kiev
residents in the southern port of Odessa.

Jose Cardenas, former National Security Council staffer in the George W.
Bush administration and an expert on Latin America, said in an interview
that Cuba is “in perfect company among state sponsors of terrorism.”

The country’s campaign to remove itself from the U.S. terrorism sponsor
list is likely a public relations effort to lift sanctions, he said.

“Their idea of peace and stability is a far cry from what most
democracies and positive contributors to international security
believe,” he said. “It is in the DNA of the Cuban revolution to be a
troublemaker in terms of international peace and stability.”

Cuban authorities continue to beat and detain dissidents and workers who
challenge the government.

Source: Cuba Demands Removal from List of State Sponsors of Terrorism |
Washington Free Beacon –

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