Cuba and Terrorism

Tim Brown sends the section on Cuba from the Department of State's 2003 report on global terrorism:

"Cuba remained opposed to the US-led Coalition prosecuting the global war on terrorism and actively condemned many associated US policies and actions throughout 2003. Government-controlled press reporting about US-led military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan were consistently critical of the United States and frequently and baselessly alleged US involvement in violations of human rights. Government propaganda claimed that those fighting for self-determination or against foreign occupation are exercising internationally recognized rights and cannot be accused of terrorism. Cuba‚s delegate to the UN said terrorism cannot be defined as including acts by legitimate national liberation movements -- even though many such groups clearly employ tactics that intentionally target innocent civilians to advance their political, religious, or social agendas. In referring to US policy toward Cuba, the delegate asserted, „acts by states to destabilize other states is a form of terrorism.‰

The Cuban Government did not extradite nor request the extradition of suspected terrorists in 2003. Cuba continued to provide support to designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, as well as to host several terrorists and dozens of fugitives from US justice. The Government refuses to return suspected terrorists to countries when it alleges that a receiving government could not provide a fair trial because the charges against the accused are „political.‰ Cuba has publicly used this argument with respect to a number of fugitives from US justice, including Joanne Chesimard, wanted for the murder of a New Jersey State Trooper in 1973. Havana permitted up to 20 ETA members to reside in Cuba and provided some degree of safehaven and support to members of FARC and the ELN. Bogota was aware of the arrangement and apparently acquiesced; it has publicly indicated that it seeks Cuba‚s continued mediation with ELN agents in Cuba. A declaration issued by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May 2003 maintained that the presence of ETA members in Cuba arose from a request for assistance by Spain and Panama and that the issue is a bilateral matter between Cuba and Spain. The declaration similarly defended its assistance to the FARC and the ELN as contributing to a negotiated solution in Colombia.

Dozens of fugitives from US justice have taken refuge on the island. In a few cases, the Cuban Government has rendered fugitives from US justice to US authorities. The salient feature of Cuba‚s behavior in this arena, however, is its refusal to render to US justice any fugitive whose crime is judged by Cuba to be „political.‰

With respect to domestic terrorism, the Government in April 2003 executed three Cubans who attempted to hijack a ferry to the United States. The three were executed under Cuba‚s 2001 „Law Against Acts of Terrorism.‰

Cuba became a party to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism in 2001. "

Tim concludes: "Those sympathetic to Castro will reject this statement: Those opposed will accept it. But those who reject it should note that even Cuba admits it harbors Colombian FARC and ELN, ETA terrorists and dozens of fugitives from justice".

Ronald Hilton -