[MKE - Indymedia] State Department Presents No Evidence That Cuba Is a Terrorist State
aheitzer at igc.org
Thu May 11 19:10:01 PDT 2006
News issued by: Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba
633 W. Wisconsin Ave. Suite 1410, Milwaukee, WI 53203
(414) 273-1040 ext. 12; cubawifriends at mindspring.com
Check out our website: www.wicuba.org
[The author was the top U.S. diplomat in Cuba, under Presidents Carter and
Reagan, until he quit as Reagan moved to end people to people travel and
exchanges, and re-imposed U.S. restrictions on travel to Cuba. Amb. Smith is
currently at Johns Hopkins University and the Center for International
Policy, www.ciponline.org. -- Art]
State Department Presents No Evidence That Cuba Is a Terrorist State
By Wayne S. Smith, Center for International Policy
May 9, 2006, Washington, D.C.
In the case of Cuba, the State Department's annual report on "State
Sponsors of Terrorism," issued on April 28 of 2006, is a complete dud. It
presents not a shred of evidence to confirm that Cuba is in fact a
terrorist state - nothing!
It says, for example, that: "Cuba did not attempt to track, block, or seize
terrorist assets, although the authority to do so is contained in Cuba's
Law 93 Against Acts of Terrorism, as well as Instruction 19 of the
Superintendent of the Cuban Central Bank."
But the obvious response to that is "what assets?" There is no evidence at
all that al-Qaeda or any other foreign terrorist organization has any
assets in Cuba. And so, there is nothing to seize. The statement does make
clear, however, that Cuba has laws on the books against acts of terrorism!
The report goes on to complain that: "To date, the Cuban government has
taken no action against al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups."
But, again, the charge is a non sequitur. Neither al-Qaeda nor any other
terrorist group has a presence in Cuba and thus it is not at all clear what
"action" Cuba could take against them.
The report complains further that: "Cuba did not undertake any
counterterrorism efforts in international or regional fora."
But this is not really true. Cuba has signed all twelve of the UN's
anti-terrorist resolutions. It also condemned the terrorist attacks on 9/11
and expressed its solidarity with the American people. Subsequently, the
Cuban government offered to sign a bi-lateral agreement with the United
States to cooperate in the struggle against terrorism. The Bush
administration ignored the offer.
As though grasping for something - anything! - to say, the report complains
that Cuba "maintains friendly ties with Iran and North Korea." True, but
unless there is some evidence that those ties extend to cooperation in
terrorist activities or planning - and no such evidence is presented --,
they are not pertinent to the question of whether Cuba is or is not a
The report repeats its annual complaint that Cuba permits American
fugitives to live in Cuba and is not responsive to U.S. requests that they
There are American fugitives in Cuba, yes. Most are hijackers who came in
the 1970s and have lived in Cuba since then. There are a number, probably 7
or 8, wanted for crimes in the United States, and it is true that Cuba has
not responded positively to U.S. requests for their extradition. But two
things must be noted about that. First, the 1904 extradition treaty is for
all practical purposes no longer operative because the U.S. has not honored
a single Cuban request for extradition since 1959. Second, by and large,
the "crimes" committed in the U.S. had a political background, and Article
VI of the old 1904 treaty excludes the extradition of those whose crimes
had a "political character."
Further, as Robert Muse, an international lawyer, noted in a report on the
matter back in 2004, none of the U.S. fugitives in Cuba provides a basis
for declaring Cuba to be a "state sponsor of terrorism." Legal authority to
make such a designation is found in section 6(j) of the 1979 Export
Administration Act, and under that section, it would have to be
demonstrated that the fugitives had committed "terrorist" acts and that
those acts were "international" in character. Muse states that he has been
unable to identify a single U.S. fugitive in Cuba who meets those twofold
criteria. And so, the fugitives are extraneous to the definition of Cuba as
a "state sponsor of terrorism."
Strangely, the report raises the case of Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban
exile arch-terrorist charged with the bombing of a Cubana airliner back in
1976 with the loss of 73 lives, for other terrorist acts in Cuba and for
planning the assassination of Fidel Castro in Panama in the year 2000,
under circumstances that could have cost the lives of hundreds. The report
says Cuba demands that he be surrendered to them. This is inaccurate. It is
the government of Venezuela that has requested his extradition, which the
United States, without legal grounds, has refused. Posada Carriles is being
held in custody in El Paso, Texas. Clearly, he has received preferential
treatment from the U.S. government. Otherwise, he would have been deported
to Venezuela or tried here for his crimes. He joins a list of other exile
terrorists being sheltered by the U.S. Orlando Bosch, who also participated
in the bombing of the Cubana airliner back in 1976, is probably the most
notorious of these. It would appear from this report, then, that it is the
United States and not Cuba that is harboring terrorists!
As it does every year, the report mentions the presence in Cuba of members
of the Basque ETA guerrilla organization, and the Colombian FARC and ELN.
In past years, the State Department had tried to suggest that they were in
Cuba against the wishes of their respective governments and had sinister
objectives, but that suggestion has been shot down year after year by
representatives of the Colombian and Spanish governments. This year, no
such allegations are made. It is acknowledged that they are living in Cuba
legally. Further, the report states that: "There is no information
concerning terrorist activities of these or other organizations on Cuban
territory..The United States is not aware of specific terrorist enclaves in
If they are there legally and are not involved in terrorist activities,
then how does their presence in any way lead to the conclusion that Cuba is
a "state sponsor of terrorism?"
Indeed, how does anything in this report lead to that conclusion?
 See The Center for International Policy's International Policy Report,
"Cuba Should Not be on the Terrorist List," November 2004, pp.4-5.
Center for International Policy
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