Washington (US): The United States on Monday (local time) designated Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism for repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbor to terrorists.
In a press statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “Today’s designation subjects Cuba to sanctions that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with Cuba, restricts US foreign assistance, bans defense exports and sales, and imposes certain controls on exports of dual-use items.”
With this action, the US government will send a message to Cuba that it must end its support for international terrorism and subversion of US justice, remarked Pompeo.
According to the Secretary of State, Cuba returns to the SST list following its broken commitment to stop supporting terrorism as a condition of its removal by the previous administration in 2015.
He further alleged that the Cuban government has fed, housed, and provided medical care for murderers, bombmakers, and hijackers, while many Cubans go hungry, homeless, and without basic medicine.
Cuba has also refused Colombia’s requests to extradite ten leaders of the National Liberation Army (ELN), a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, living in Havana after the group claimed responsibility for the January 2019 bombing of a Bogota police academy that killed 22 people and injured more than 87 others.
The Secretary of State further claimed that Cuba also harbors several US fugitives from justice wanted on or convicted of charges of political violence, many of whom have resided in Cuba for decades.
“In addition to the support for international terrorism that is the basis for today’s action, the Cuban regime engages in a range of malign behavior across the region. The Cuban intelligence and security apparatus has infiltrated Venezuela’s security and military forces, assisting Nicholas Maduro to maintain his stranglehold over his people while allowing terrorist organizations to operate,” he said.
“The United States will continue to support the Cuban people in their desire for a democratic government and respect for human rights, including freedom of religion, expression, and association. Until these rights and freedoms are respected, we will continue to hold the regime accountable,” he added. — ANI