Obama continues Cold War policy by failing to remove Cuba from State Department’s list of states that sponsor terrorism

During the 1980s, many would argue the current U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry played a positive role in inter-American affairs. At one point the Democratic Senator travelled to Nicaragua and met with Sandinista leaders in order to promote peace in Central America. Kerry declared: “Our foreign policy should represent the democratic values that have made our country great, not subvert those values by funding terrorism to overthrow governments of other countries.” Kerry's current decision to continue to label Cuba as a state that supports terrorism is therefore regrettable and rather hypocritical given that the Caribbean island itself has long been on the receiving end of covert operations from right-wing Cubans in Miami. Keith Bolender in the Guardian recently explained more:   

The long-awaited annual report on international terrorism from the State Department was released Thursday, and confirmed what officials had already indicated – that Cuba is staying on the list along with Iran, Sudan and Syria. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell confirmed the administration "has no current plans to remove Cuba". The decision came as a disappointment for those who were expecting new Secretary of State John Kerry, a long-time critic of America's counter-productive policy against the Castro government, might recommend Cuba's removal. The fact he hasn't demonstrates how difficult it is to change the dynamics of the antagonistic relationship between these two ideological adversaries.

Cuba was originally included on the list in 1982, replacing a then-friendly Iraq. The designation levies comprehensive economic punishments against Havana as part of the overall strategy of regime change that includes a decades-long economic embargo, unrelenting propaganda, extra-territorial application of American laws.

For it's part, Cuba calls its continued inclusion on the list "shameful" and pandering to a small community of former Cuban citizens who now live in Florida. Cuba also asserts that the US has actually undertaken actions on the island that have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians.

An official of the country's foreign relations department, MINREX, who asked to remain anonymous, complained:

"It is ridiculous that the United States continues to include Cuba on an arbitrary list of states that sponsor terrorism, while it is Cuba that has suffered so much from terrorism – originating from the United States."

The so-called terrorism against Cuba began shortly after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959. In the early 1960s a covert CIA program known as Operation Mongoose led to the killing of teachers, farmers, government officials and the destruction of agricultural and non-military industrial targets. Other incidents involved attacks on villages, biological terrorism including the introduction of Dengue 2 that resulted in the deaths of more than 100 children in 1981, and a 1997 bombing campaign against tourist facilities in Havana and Varadero that killed Canadian-Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo and injured dozens.

The most infamous act of terrorism occurred with the bombing of Cubana Airlines in 1976, killing all 72 on board. One of the two recognized masterminds, former CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles, has a long history of suspected terrorist activities against his former homeland; at one point bragging to the New York Times of his involvement in the hotel bombings. Posada continues to live a quiet life in Miami, considered a hero among many of the first generation exiles whose anti-revolutionary fervor has yet to diminish. The other architect of the Cubana Airlines bombing, Orlando Bosch, died peacefully in Miami a few years ago. As a result of these terrorist activities, the Cuban government sent intelligence officers to Florida in the 1990s to infiltrate Cuban-American organizations in an effort to thwart further acts. The agents, known as the Cuban Five, were uncovered by the FBI and are serving long prison terms.

Posted on June 5, 2013 .