WASHINGTON – The Cuban Interests Section in Washington said that the Cuban government is cooperating in the international fight against terrorism and rejected the fact that the United States includes the country on its list of states that sponsor terrorism.
Cuba, spokesman Alberto Gonzalez told Efe, “has complied, is complying and will comply with the internationally recognized security measures for these cases.”
Gonzalez insisted that Cuba, in any case, “does not recognize any moral authority of the U.S. government to certify its inclusion and that of the Cubans on this type of list.”
After the failed Christmas Day attack on a flight over Detroit, the United States increased security checks on international passengers, in particular those arriving from Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, whose governments Washington accuses of sponsoring terrorism.
It is also subjecting to greater scrutiny in airports those passengers from “countries of interest,” including Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.
Spokesman Gonzalez said that Cuba “has a perfectly clean service record in this area. Cuban territory has never been used to organize, finance or execute terrorist acts against the United States of America or any other state.”
Along those lines, he said that the inclusion of Cuba on the black list has a political character because the government in Washington “cannot cite a single terrorist act or intention that has come from Cuban territory.”
On the contrary, he continued, Cuba has been “the victim of violence and terrorism” by people such as Luis Posada Carriles, who is accused by Havana of the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people.
Posada is currently living in the United States and Washington has ignored a Venezuelan request for his extradition in the airliner bombing, though he does face lesser charges in the United States for perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to immigration authorities about his past activities.
In its most recent report on international terrorism, the U.S. State Department said Havana remained on the black list because “the Cuban government continued to provide safe haven to several terrorists.”
“Members of ETA, the FARC, and the ELN remained in Cuba during 2008,” the April 2009 document said.
ETA has killed more than 800 people since 1968 in its campaign for an independent Basque state in parts of northern Spain and southwestern France. The leftist FARC and ELN have been battling a succession of Colombian governments for more than four decades. EFE