Just as certain as the Cherry Blossom People will soon be descending on the tidal basin, so will the rumors at Foggy Bottom and Capitol on matters related to U.S.-Cuba policy. As we are on the cusp of the Cuba silly season, time for a reality check.
In addition to bills introduced in Congress to ease U.S. sanctions, this year we also have low-grade rumor making the rounds that the Obama Administration plans to de-list Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. The Cuban regime has tried to do this many times before and it enlists a cadre of pro-regime supporters and groups that live in the area.
What these folks seem to forget are the reasons why Cuba was placed on the list to begin with and why it has re-earned that slot every time that the designation is up for review. I’m just about certain that the regime has earned its place on the list for some time to come.
Cuba’s place on the state sponsor of terrorism list is based on a lot more than, as one expert calls it, a “specious allegation“. A great majority of the people calling for Cuba’s removal from the list do not even work for the government. Hence, they are at a distinct disadvantage when analyzing the issue because they lack the necessary security clearances to review information used by the government to make the designation.
Why has Cuba and the Cuban Communist Party earned the designation? Here is a small and partial list based solely on what is in the public domain:
- The harboring of an FBI fugitive in Cuba since 1984: cop killer Joanne Chesimard. Chesimard was a member of the radical left-wing terrorist group, the Black Liberation Army and is wanted for her role in the first-degree murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. Trooper Foerster was shot and killed with his own weapon in the name of “black power”. There is a petition to have Chesimard extradited to the United States;
- Cuba’s harboring of Chilean terrorists linked to the assassination of Senator Jaime Guzman, founder of one of Chile’s conservative political parties, the Independent Democratic Union (The death of a conservative leader does not rank very high with Cuban regime supporters in the United States;
- The false peace process the Cuba claims to be brokering the past few years with the Colombian FARC terrorist group and Colombia’s government;
- The harboring of FARC terrorists on Cuban soil;
- The Cuban regime’s support of Venezuela and vice-versa. I could write several articles on this gem. Venezuela should have been added to the state sponsors list years ago. But that is a subject for another post;
- Harboring of Spain ETA terrorists;
- Cuba’s close and ongoing relationship with state sponsor of terror Iran;
- Holding Alan Gross, a U.S. aid worker, on false charges of espionage;
- Cuba has engaged, and likely still engages in a biological weapons program. If it does not, then why does the regime refuse to allow inspectors at sensitive sites throughout the island;
I could continue listing things here that, based on public records alone, warrant Cuba’s inclusion on the state sponsor of terrorism list. Do not believe me? Go peruse WikiLeaks, for starters. There is plenty out in the public domain from reliable sources, some in Cuba’s own words, that links Cuba to international terrorist networks. These and related facts are conveniently omitted from much of the public discourse.
If this is what we know publicly, one can only wonder what the classified information may include. But based on a public accounting of Cuba’s record, as well as recent deeds, Cuba will not be coming off the list anytime soon. Not even with clever legal reasoning or political machinations by folks who want to ease sanctions.