By Javier Herrera
HAVANA TIMES — It emerged recently that Colombian President Gustavo Petro has informally asked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
To give you some context, we must point out that Cuba returned to the despicable list after peace talks on the island, where Cuba acted as a guarantor and host of talks between the National Liberation Army ( ELN) rebel and communist and the Colombians. The government has ended.
On January 17, 2019, amid peace talks, the ELN detonated a car bomb against the police training school in Bogotá, killing 23 and injuring more than 100.
Following these events, the then Colombian President, Ivan Duque, ended the peace talks and issued an arrest warrant against the guerrilla leaders, asking Cuba for their extradition. Cuba refused to extradite the guerrilla commanders arguing that this had not been taken into account in the pre-conversation agreements and granted them asylum and protection instead, which was later used to put Cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
In an unprecedented gesture, the Cuban government informed – through its ambassador in Bogota, José Luis Ponce – the Colombian government of possible threats of an attack in Bogota, organized by the terrorist group. After Cuba provided this information, the ELN issued a statement that denied responsibility and organization for these attacks, but exonerated its protected leaders in Cuba saying that they are there to protect peace, not to planning combat actions or attacks. In the meantime, the Colombian government took advantage of the situation to reiterate its request for extradition, which Cuba again rejected.
As soon as Gustavo Petro, a former guerrilla fighter and old friend of the Cuban regime, came to power, the Colombian government tried to influence Cuba’s removal from this list. So Petro now joins many members of the Colombian Congress who sent a letter to US Vice President Kamala Harris, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, and President of the United Nations General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi, asking Cuba to be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
If anyone wanted to make a moderately serious analysis of Cuba’s position on terrorism, one need only go back to how the current regime came to power, as well as its international relations.
The Cuban government came to power in 1959, after a bloody civil war, led by an illegitimate government and a rural guerrilla group, with representation in the cities that used terrorist tactics to sow chaos and destabilize the government.
After the victory and the rise to power of the guerrilla forces, as early as 1959, military expeditions from Cuba began.
While Cuba only acknowledges its military involvement on five occasions: Algeria, Syria, Congo, Angola and Ethiopia, Cuban troops have been documented fighting at least 11 times in different parts of the world. Standing out is the failed expedition to Panama with the goal of sparking a revolutionary movement in 1959; the failed expedition to the Dominican Republic to overthrow the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, in alliance with the Dominican community in exile; and in 1963 and 1967, failed expeditions by the Cuban army to seize power in Venezuela and establish a government favorable to Cuba and guarantee the island’s oil supply.
We can add to Cuba’s military adventures the creation, training, logistical support and even military leadership of guerrilla forces around the world, with particular emphasis on Latin America.
With regard to Cuba’s relations with Latin America, it is important to point out that Cuba has encouraged rural and urban guerrilla forces in places like Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil and elsewhere on different occasions.
Everyone knows about the guerrilla adventures of Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Bolivia, after he failed in his attempt to lead an insurrection in Peru. It is also a well-known fact that Cuba recruited and trained the guerrillas created by journalist Jorge Ricardo Masetti in northeastern Argentina.
It is also common knowledge that dozens of terrorists from different organizations have found refuge in Havana over the past 60 years, including:
-JoAnne Deborah Chesimard (Assata Shakur) who is the only woman on the FBI’s most wanted fugitives list.
– Charlie Hill, a Vietnam veteran, Hill is wanted for the murder of a police officer in New Mexico and the hijacking of a TWA plane.
– Joseba Sarrionandia, a Basque writer and former member of the terrorist organization ETA, who escaped from prison 31 years ago, without knowing his whereabouts, but he said he lived “a normal life” in Havana For years. He returned to Spain in 2021.
If the evidence provided above does not seem sufficient to prove Cuba’s involvement in international terrorist plots, then you also have the island’s involvement in subversive actions in Chile, Bolivia and Colombia in recent years. , where Cuban diplomatic personnel were even taken to task for sums of money amid violent protests.
But if there is any doubt that the Cuban government is on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, just look at the current government’s unconditional support for the Russian invasion of the sovereign republic of Ukraine.
Finally, I would like to say that Cuba has not limited its terrorist efforts to foreign lands. Cuban citizens are also the target of terrorist attacks by the ruling regime.
Over the past two years, civil protests have erupted across the country over the widespread crisis experienced by ordinary Cubans. The protests have been brutally suppressed by a government that lacks the financial means to buy ambulances or medicine but has the means to build hotels and buy the latest riot gear.
The demonstrators were persecuted by the intelligence services, arrested, beaten, infected with deadly diseases like the case of Ariel Ruiz Urquiola who was infected with HIV. After being physically and psychologically tortured, the arrested protesters were charged with lengthy sentences in rigged trials.
Anti-government journalists are regularly threatened, beaten, locked up, their fundamental rights violated and even forced into exile. Any dissenting voice is persecuted and silenced in the worst possible way.
The aforementioned conditions sent the Cuban people en masse through the Central American jungle and in rafts through the dangerous Florida Straits. This exodus has been profitable for the Cuban government as it has raised airfare and accommodation prices and even created a network of human traffickers who facilitate travel to the United States.
After analyzing the above, I would like the President of Colombia, or someone who defends his views, to tell me if he really thinks that Cuba should be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism by the United States. United. I would like to know if his request comes from his conscience and his civil spirit or if it comes from his romantic relationship with the left and if the Cuban government asked him to do it. Does Gustavo Petro really regret his past as a terrorist and guerrilla? Or did he simply choose to continue his leftist terrorist activism under the guise of politics?
Each of the arguments in this article could and will be analyzed in depth in future articles, with evidence and testimonials. Until then, examine the facts for yourself, research information and decide for yourself whether Cuba should remain on the list or be removed.
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