Yesterday, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would be removing Cuba from the U.S. State Sponsors of Terror list as part of his push to normalize relations with the communist dictatorship. But just hours later, a terror group long fostered by Cuba — even today, the Castro brothers are harboring several wanted members of the group — murdered 10 Colombian soldiers and wounded 17 others in a terror attack on a military base.
Ten Colombia soldiers killed in apparent FARC attack
Ten soldiers were killed and 17 injured in western Colombia Wednesday, in a dawn attack on an army garrison that officials blamed on leftist FARC guerrillas.
The attack occurred in a small town in Cauca province, governor Temistocles Ortega told Blu radio, adding that four of the injured soldiers are in serious condition.
The Cauca region has been a stronghold for the rebel fighters, who are in peace talks with the Bogota government to end more than a half-century of hostilities.
“This is precisely the war that we are trying to end,” President Juan Manuel Santos said on Twitter.
The FARC in December declared a unilateral ceasefire, which it has said was meant to advance the negotiations, which have been under way since November 2012.
The Colombian government last month temporarily halted air raids against the Marxist rebels.
The five-decade-long conflict has killed more than 200,000 people and uprooted more than five million.
Yesterday, in an article titled “Why Cuba Was, And Must Remain, On Terror List,” PJ Media’s Henry Gomez reported that Cuba has not changed its policy of fueling and defending leftist terror whatsoever since they were initially placed on the list. Wrote Gomez:
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.
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.
Needless to say, the straws they grasp at paint no more of a flattering picture of the totalitarian dictatorship they defend, which is in its sixth decade.
Gomez is correct in his description of the apologists’ behavior as “grasping at straws.” Harboring terrorists matches the qualifications required for the list, as this act was specifically included in every yearly report dating back to Cuba’s being placed on the list in 1982.
For example, see this State Department report from 2012:
Cuba was designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1982. Reports in 2012 suggested that the Cuban government was trying to distance itself from Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) members living on the island by employing tactics such as not providing services including travel documents to some of them. The Government of Cuba continued to provide safe haven to approximately two dozen ETA members.
In past years, some members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were allowed safe haven in Cuba and safe passage through Cuba. In November, the Government of Cuba began hosting peace talks between the FARC and Government of Colombia.
There was no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.
The Cuban government continued to harbor fugitives wanted in the United States. The Cuban government also provided support such as housing, food ration books, and medical care for these individuals.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has identified Cuba as having strategic anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism deficiencies. In 2012, Cuba became a member of the Financial Action Task Force of South America against Money Laundering, a FATF-style regional body. With this action, Cuba has committed to adopting and implementing the FATF Recommendations.