Tuesday, May 1, 2007

"Terrorist" Cuba

There was a day when Cuba was up to its neck in activities that harmed U.S. national security, and the U.S. government reported on it all. There were pictures and quotes and, if memory serves, captured documents about arms shipments, arms caches, training of combatants, and Havana strategy sessions where political leaders of revolutionary movements had their heads knocked together, the better to unite against “imperialist” enemies at hand.

If that kind of reading about Cuba used to get your juices flowing, you are in for nothing but nostalgia and disappointment when you read the State Department’s 2007 terrorism report.

Cuba, no surprise, is again included as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

But reading the Cuba sections is like drinking beer mixed with water.

For years, there has been a gap between the common meaning of “sponsorship” and the information that supports Cuba’s inclusion on the State Department’s list. The Cuba section lacks, as teachers would say, “action verbs.”

By way of definition, the report says that “state sponsors” enable terrorists to acquire the “funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they require to plan and conduct operations of terrorism.” It bares no evidence, but includes clear assertions about Syria (“political and material support to Hizballah and political support to Palestinian terrorist groups”) and Iran (“planning and support of terrorist acts.”)

When it comes to Cuba, there is nothing about terrorist operations or any Cuban link to them. The 9,503-word “Western Hemisphere Overview” mentions no Cuban actions anywhere; Cuba is only mentioned passively in a complaint about Venezuela’s relations with Havana.

In fact, the report does more to justify Venezuela being named a state sponsor of terrorism (which it is not – it is listed as “not fully cooperating”) than Cuba. Venezuela, it says, is “unwilling to prevent Venezuelan territory from being used as a safe haven by the FARC and ELN,” two Colombian guerrilla groups. That is stronger than any accusation against Cuba.

Cuba continues “to publicly oppose the U.S.-led Coalition prosecuting the War on Terror,” the report says, an accusation that would land many governments and U.S. citizens in hot water.

The report says Cuba failed – “to U.S. knowledge” – to “track, block, or seize terrorist assets.”

It states, as in previous years, that ETA, FARC, and ELN members enjoy “safe haven” in Cuba. It does not mention that the Spanish ETA members apparently went to Cuba during the term of Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, apparently at his request, and that Spain has not sought their return. Nor does it mention that the Colombian government negotiates with Colombian guerrillas in Havana, as recently as last month when a ten-day round of talks was held with the ELN.

Finally, the presence in Cuba of fugitives from U.S. justice is also used to support the “state sponsor of terrorism” designation. That is a longstanding and troubling situation, but the report indicates no U.S. attempt to negotiate a solution. Its careful wording indicates past U.S. requests for fugitives to be handed over (it doesn’t say when), but not in the context of the long-inoperative U.S.-Cuba extradition treaty. That, it seems, would open the door to recognizing a Cuban right to use the same treaty for people it seeks on terrorism charges. The report mentions the case of Luis Posada Carriles, saying that Cuba accuses him of “bombing a Cubana Airlines plane in 1976” without mentioning that the Administration itself has called him an “admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks.” Posada is in Miami awaiting trial for immigration fraud.

The report includes a puzzling section on Sudan, which is listed as a “state sponsor of terrorism” but described as “a strong partner in the War on Terror.”

North Korea, the report says, is “not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts” since 1987 but still harbors “four Japanese Red Army members who participated in a jet hijacking in 1970.” Nonetheless, it notes, the United States has agreed to “begin the process of removing the designation of the DPRK as a state-sponsor of terrorism.” This reflects the recent negotiations to contain North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and an opening toward normalized relations with the United States if that goal is accomplished.

Cuba is not accused of possessing nuclear weapons.


leftside said...

Very well said... as a bureaucrat myself, I relish reading the way poor fellows have to try to justify such political absurdity and hypocrisy.

While the media and human rights organizations condemn Cuba for arresting those who brazenly engage with arms of the US Government, we don't hear a world about the fact that this designation prevents all US citizens the same privlege (to engage with the Cuban government).

BTW, I recently learned that Cuba was added in 1982 to take the place of Iraq, which was removed so we could sell weapons to Hussein the same year the Dujail massacre occured (the crime he was executed for).

Karamchand said...

Para que repetir todo los años lo mismo, sigue el mismo dictador ahí, sigue la misma situación con pequeños cambios de matices o maquillaje, como quieran llamarle. Ya lo he dicho anteriormente, las pruebas están ahí, a la vista. El caso de los 5 espías, que en realidad eran "15", uno de ellos incluso, estaba tratando de penetrar el Comando Sur. El caso de la Montes, ¿para que quería ella presentar al gobierno norteamericano algo que se dice y se repite mucho?, que Cuba no es una amenaza, si Cuba no es una amenaza, ¿que sentido tiene trabajar por algo que es asumible por muchos norteamericanos?.

leftside said...

Karamchand, are you implying that the "5" and Montes are evidence of Cuban terrorism???

Karamchand said...

Son efecto de el terrorismo de estado empleado por la dictadura desde sus inicios. Son incontables los atentados perpretados por orden del gobierno cubano, entre los cuales se incluye el ue sufrió el mismo Luis Posada Carriles y cuyas secuelas son claramente visibles aun hoy a pesar de su edad y el tiempo pasado. No es un terrorista en particular, es un mecanismo dedicado a crear el terror y que no solamente usa los métodos violentos, sino que usa los métodos de incertidumbre, porque ¿usted conoce algo mejor que la incertidumbre para provocar a seguidas el miedo o terror?. Es la incertidumbre la antesala de los miedos y del terror.