Cuba should remain on the State Sponsors of Terror list

No amount of “dialogue” between the Biden administration and Cuba’s communist regime will change the fact that the Castro dictatorship has been in the past, and today continues to be, a State Sponsor of Terror.

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, Marcel Felipe, and Orlando Gutierrez Boronat make the indisputable case in The Washington Times:

Cuba must remain designated state sponsor of terrorism

Sending U.S. delegations to Havana is dangerous

In the last few days, the U.S. sent a delegation of officials from the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security to engage in a “law enforcement dialogue” with members of Cuba’s military dictatorship.

While the State Department says the dialogues are a way to “enhance the national security of the United States through improved international law enforcement coordination … and bring transnational criminals to justice,” those of us in Miami’s Cuban exile community who participate in the island’s pro-democracy movement are concerned these dialogues could set the stage to remove Cuba’s rightful designation as a state sponsor of terrorism (SSOT).

When The Washington Times inquired as to whether the dialogues would include discussion about removing Cuba’s SSOT designation, the State Department opaquely responded that “the dialogue does not impact the administration’s continued focus on critical human rights issues in Cuba.”

Another journalist received a similar, contradictory answer at a Jan. 13 news conference when he asked, “How do you justify having this kind of meeting on specifically law enforcement issues while at the same time keeping the country on the terrorism list?”

While the State Department insists the U.S. can walk these diverging paths and arrive at the same destination, many of us in the opposition do not believe this is possible, which is why we are concerned the U.S. may make the mistake of removing the regime from the SSOT list.

We do not believe the United States can logistically or morally coordinate law enforcement efforts with a state sponsor of terrorism. Coordinating transnational law enforcement efforts often requires sharing of U.S. national security capabilities, which will benefit Cuba’s intelligence community and improve its standing in the international community.

This would be a grave mistake since Cuba has wreaked havoc throughout the Western Hemisphere by conspiring with Nicaragua and Venezuela to coordinate mass migration crises aimed at the southwestern border, engaged in drug trafficking, spied on U.S. agencies and attacked our diplomats with directed energy weapons, provided sanctuary for terrorists who have committed murder on American soil, and trained terrorist operatives abroad.

In 1996, Cuba killed four volunteers with Brothers to the Rescue by downing two private planes patrolling the Florida Straits for stranded refugees. It has also engaged in acts of hostility against U.S. citizens in the opposition — including documented death threats against one of the authors of this column, Orlando Gutierrez. Most recently, Cuba provided diplomatic and informational support for Russia in its aggression against Ukraine. Removing Cuba’s terrorism designation could make it easier for its allies in Moscow to use the regime to circumvent their own sanctions.

“For decades, the Cuban government has fed, housed, and provided medical care for murderers, bombmakers, and hijackers,” says the State Department’s own website, which documents the regime’s protection of the National Liberation Army (ELN), a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, as well as “several U.S. fugitives from justice wanted on or convicted of charges of political violence, many of whom have resided in Cuba for decades.”

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