On Tuesday, President Obama announced that the U.S. is removing Cuba from its state sponsors of terror list. Hours later, FARC, a terrorist group long supported by Cuba, murdered 10 Colombian soldiers and wounded 17 others in a terror attack on a military base.
As David Steinberg of PJ Media shows, providing safe haven to members of a terrorist group has long been sufficient to warrant inclusion on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terror. A state need not supply arms or training for terrorists. For years, in fact, Cuba’s inclusion on the list has been based on its harboring terrorists.
The question, then, is whether Cuba has stopped harboring terrorists, such as those who belong to FARC. If not, there is no proper basis for removing Cuba from the list.
The answer is that Cuba continues to harbor terrorists. Henry Gomez, also of PJ Media, writes:
The Castro brothers continue to harbor international terrorists from Spain’s Basque separatist group ETA and Colombia’s Marxist rebels FARC, as well as American domestic terrorists from groups like the Black Liberation Army.
Nothing has really changed on this front. It’s estimated that 70 U.S. fugitives are being harbored by Cuba, including Joanne Chesimard (AKA “Assata Shakur”), a convicted cop killer.
Attempts by Cuba supporters to explain away these facts aren’t just embarrassing; in some cases they confirm that Cuba is pro-terrorist:
Apologists for the Castro regime try to argue that Cuba does not meet the criteria of state sponsor of terrorism via technicalities. They insist that the Basque terrorists in Cuba are a matter for Spain to resolve bilaterally with Cuba, and that the FARC terrorists don’t count because Cuba is hosting peace talks between FARC and the Colombian government, and that Chesimard doesn’t qualify as a terrorist because she didn’t kill a civilian, conflating a police officer with a member of uniformed armed forces in a declared war.
These arguments are as absurd now as they were in the past, when the U.S. brushed them off. In the case of FARC, peace talks in Cuba began in November 2012. The history of FARC terrorists being allowed safe haven in, and safe passage through, Cuba predates the talks.
When the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations was announced, Raul Castro welcomed the opening, but only as long as Cuban “sovereignty” is respected. In other words, the Castros weren’t promising to change any policy in exchange for normalization, and weren’t likely to.
Thus, it is not surprising that the Castros continue to pursue their anti-U.S. policies, including providing a safe haven for members of terrorist groups like FARC. Meanwhile, FARC continues its bloodthirsty ways.
Cuba belongs on the state sponsors of terror list. Obama’s decision to remove it represents yet another act of appeasement by a president with an almost limitless capacity to sympathize with anti-American regimes.