Managing editor and MatadorU faculty member Julie Schwietert Collazo's in-laws (plus her own mother and daughter) in Havana, Cuba, 2010.

Do These People Look Like Terrorists?

by Carlo Alcos Aug 21, 2011
For 29 years straight, the US decides to keep Cuba on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

AS PHIL PETERS at the Cuban Triangle blog says, despite any evidence that Cuba is actively participating in terrorist activities, the US State Department has kept the country on its terrorism report (see Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism). There are four countries on the list: Cuba, Sudan, Syria, and Iran. From the report:

Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1982, the Government of Cuba maintained a public stance against terrorism and terrorist financing in 2010, but there was no evidence that it had severed ties with elements from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and recent media reports indicate some current and former members of the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) continue to reside in Cuba. Available information suggested that the Cuban government maintained limited contact with FARC members, but there was no evidence of direct financial or ongoing material support. In March, the Cuban government allowed Spanish Police to travel to Cuba to confirm the presence of suspected ETA members*.

Cuba continued to denounce U.S. counterterrorism efforts throughout the world, portraying them as a pretext to extend U.S. influence and power.

I wonder if the last statement is the main reason they’re kept on it, because they don’t agree with the US counterterrorism effort. With the designation, sanctions follow, including “Prohibitions on economic assistance” and “Imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.” It seems the US just isn’t ready to lift its embargo and an easy way to keep it intact is to keep them on the terrorism list. The language is weak. What exactly are “elements” from the FARC? And what is the context of these “current and former members” of the ETA living in Cuba?

And guess who’s no longer on the list? North Korea. Figure that one out.

When I cycled around Cuba for five weeks in 2010, all I met were the nicest of human beings, constantly offering what little was to be offered. It’s time the Cubans had a break.

*bolding added

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