The United States government on Tuesday named Cuba among countries that “do not fully cooperate” in its fight against terrorism, while Havana described the announcement as a “false accusation”.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken published a notice in the United States Federal Register where he once again mentioned Cuba among five countries that do not support Washington’s counterterrorism efforts.
The President wrote, “I determine and certify to Congress that the following countries are not cooperating fully with United States counterterrorism efforts: Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea), Iran, Syria and Venezuela.”
The State Department is required by law to provide this list to Congress every year, and this 2023 message is nearly identical to the previous two years.
In statements to CyberCuba, a State Department official said that Blinken has determined and certified Cuba, the DPRK, Iran, Syria, and Venezuela as countries that “cooperate fully” with United States counterterrorism efforts. Do not cooperate in any way”. The official said that the certification corresponds to the calendar year 2022.
“These are the same countries whose non-cooperation was certified last year under the Arms Export Control Act’s Determination and Certification, which is done annually after considering a country’s overall level of cooperation in our efforts to fight terrorism,” the official said. is made.”
Under that law, countries certified by Congress as uncooperative with US counterterrorism efforts are prohibited from selling or licensing defense articles and services for export. The next rule for export licenses for arms and defense equipment will come into effect from October 1, and the embargo for the indicated countries will remain in force till that date.
The State Department makes this classification each March as a step before designating it as a “country sponsor of terrorism”. But the decision to put Cuba in this category removes the possibility that Washington is considering removing it from the “black list” that reflects the largest economic and financial sanctions.
Havana, for its part, reacted to the allegation through a message from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Twitter.
Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez posted, “False accusations against Cuba regarding terrorism continue from Washington, an abominable crime that the United States has practiced without hesitation and that it opportunistically uses as a tool of political pressure.” uses in.”
Similarly, Eugenio Martínez, general director for Latin America and the Caribbean of Cuba’s foreign ministry, wrote that the island’s inclusion on the list is a contradiction, as Cuba supports a peace deal with a meeting in Havana on Tuesday. Between the government of Colombia and the guerrillas in that country for almost 60 years.
Republican Donald Trump’s government included Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism before leaving office in January 2021, due to the island’s low participation in cooperation initiatives, and took some restrictive measures such as restricting remittances and visits by US citizens. Caribbean countries to limit.
However, in 2022, Joe Biden partially repealed some of Trump’s restrictions.
On March 23, the Biden administration said that it did not plan to remove Cuba from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, as it believed that it did not meet the requirements demanded by the United States.
We do not plan to remove it. [a Cuba] Off the list,” Blinken said during a House Foreign Relations Committee hearing on that date.
Cuba’s inclusion on a “black list” of sponsors of terrorism remains the main stumbling block for the talks between Havana and Washington, which insist on protecting the fundamental rights of Cuban citizens and the release of political prisoners on the island. ,
“The government of Cuba must take concrete steps and release the prisoners of 11-J [manifestantes del 11 de julio de 2021] To be able to direct better bilateral relations that are not only in the interest of the government, but in the interest of the Cuban nation and its community abroad,” said former Congressman Joe Garcia, a Democratic Party figure in Florida.