The Cuban government denounced as a “terrorist attack” the attack against the headquarters of its embassy in the city of Washington, in the United States, due to the action of a person who threw two Molotov cocktails at the diplomatic delegation. The attack happened a few hours after President Miguel Díaz-Canel returned to Havana after a week in New York, where he attended the United Nations General Assembly and other activities with Cubans living in the United States. Relations between Washington and Havana, under a US embargo since 1962, remain tense despite some lukewarm progress.
“An act of violence and impotence”
“Hate was launched last night, again, a terrorist attack against our embassy in Washington, in an act of violence and impotence that cost precious lives. We condemn it and await action from those authority in North America,” announced President Díaz-Canel in his Molotov cocktail samples.
According to official Cuban sources, the events took place on Sunday around 8:00 pm local time in Washington, when a person threw two Molotov cocktails at the delegation’s facilities. Four photos published on the social networks of the Cuban embassy show pieces of two broken glass bottles and torn printed paper next to the facade of the ground floor of the building, in addition to some minor damage to the material.
“At the request of the Cuban diplomatic mission, officers of the United States Secret Service showed up at the headquarters and had access to its facilities to verify the violent action being taken,” the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement, in which it assured that “The attitude of tolerance” of the US authorities in the face of “harsh actions” could “provoke” the attack.
The text, which condemns the “terrorist action,” says that Cuba “hopes that the government of the United States will act in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, in the interest of avoiding the repetition of these events.” According to Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, this is the second violent attack against the diplomatic headquarters in Washington since April 2020.
“At that moment, an individual fired an assault rifle at the headquarters. Anti-Cuban groups resort to terrorism because they feel impunity, something that Cuba has been repeatedly warned about by the US authorities,” said Rodríguez. In April 2020, the Cuban Foreign Minister summoned the former United States chargé d’affaires in Havana, Mara Tekach, to express his “strong protest” against what he called the “terrorist aggression” against his embassy. The firing of that time left deep marks on the Doric columns of the entrance, a broken lamp post and many windows and moldings.
While waiting for the progress of the investigation, the Cuban Foreign Ministry warned this Monday “against the use of double standards in the supposed commitment of the US government against terrorism.” The spokesman for the US State Department, Matthew Miller, said in a press conference: “Attacks and threats against diplomatic facilities are unacceptable. We are in contact with Cuban embassy officials, according to our obligations under the Vienna Convention.
Miller added that the State Department “depends on the security of diplomatic facilities and the diplomats who work there.” For its part, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated its “commitment to the fight against violence in all its forms” and called for “a thorough investigation and bringing those responsible to justice.” The foreign ministries of Venezuela and Bolivia also expressed their rejection of the attack.
Closing the tour
The Cuban government delegation returned to Havana this Sunday after Díaz-Canel spoke on the first day of the United Nations General Assembly, in addition to participating in other parallel high-level forums on the environment and sustainable goals of development. Díaz-Canel, who already attended the UN summit in 2018, took the opportunity to meet other leaders and attend various activities with civil society groups that support Cuba.
As a result of these events, many officials from the Cuban government and the Cuban Communist Party have accused online against the fact that the United States keeps their country on the list of countries that promote terrorism. The Cuban embassy in Washington was reopened in 2015, when, as a result of the thawing process initiated by former presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, bilateral diplomatic relations were restored, frozen in 1961, two years after the victory of the island’s revolution.
Normalizing relations with the communist island does not seem to be on the agenda of current President Joe Biden. The US president promised to review Cuba policy when he arrives at the White House in January 2021, but changed his mind after anti-government demonstrations in July of the same year on the island. Washington not only kept Cuba in the list of countries that promote terrorism, but also included it in another list of countries that do not respect religious freedom.