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Freedom, democracy, and justice received good news on Monday January 11th when the U. S. State Department redesignated the Castro regime as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (“SST”) and included it on its list.
This move by the Trump Administration places Cuban Communism in a category it should have never left in 2015. Among the failures of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy pursuits was its senseless rapprochement with a dictatorship whose conduct precisely gave rise to the original classification, and which has never changed. The much-criticized move by Obama was a precondition set by the Castro regime to achieve a warming of relations that the Democrat president sought.
The SST designation is authorized and required under section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. The State Department is legislatively mandated to maintain the list which began in 1979 and to constantly update it when circumstances warrant it. The criteria for the infamous inclusion on this list is to be a supporter, on a continual basis, of international terrorism. Communist Cuba was included on the list in 1982 where it joined Libya, Iraq, South Yemen, and Syria.
The truth is the Castrocommunism, from the outset in 1959, positioned itself into an international base for Marxist subversion across the globe, but with specific emphasis in Latin America. Within days of consolidating power, the Cuban regime’s logistical and tactical operations sending expeditionary Communist forces across the continent began. Structurally, Cuba was converted into a sanctuary state and a launching pad for international Communism and any movement which was at odds with American democracy. A partial list of the actors involved is included below.
To better appreciate the magnitude of Communist Cuba’s involvement in international terrorism, here are some political movements which have strategically counted on Havana at some point: Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Angola); Liberation Armed Forces, Revolutionary Army of the People, Guerrilla Army of the People, Montoneros (Argentina); Bolivarian Communist Party, National Liberation Army (Che Guevara’s guerrilla invasion), Movement Towards Socialism (Bolivia); Worker’s Party (Brazil); Movement of the Revolutionary Left.
Patriotic Front Manuel Rodríguez (Chile); Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, National Liberation Army, April 19 Movement, Medellin Cartel (Colombia); Rebels of Simba (another of Guevara’s adventures in Congo); Dominican Patriotic Union (Dominican Republic); PAIS Alliance (Ecuador); Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation (El Salvador); Guerrilla Army of the People, National Guatemalan Revolutionary Union (Guatemala).
African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (Guinea-Bissau); Red Brigades (Italy); Hezbollah (Iran-Lebanon); New Jewel Movement (Jamaica); Japanese Red Army (Japan); Mozambique Liberation Front (Mozambique); Sandinista National Liberation Front (Nicaragua); Irish Republican Army (Northern Ireland); Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Organization for the Liberation of Palestine, Hamas, Islamic Resistance Movement, Black September (Palestine).
Movement of the Revolutionary Left, Túpac Amaru Resistence Movement; Shining Path (Peru); Moros Front (Philippines); Macheteros, National Liberation Armed Forces (Puerto Rico); ETA (Spain); National African Congress (South Africa); Communist Party USA, Black Panthers, Weather Underground (U.S.); National Liberation Movement, Oriental Revolutionary Movement, Tupamaros (Uruguay); Movement of the Revolutionary Left, Revolutionary Communist Party, National Liberation Armed Forces, Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement 200, Fifth Republic Movement (Venezuela).
The Havana Tricontinental Conference (1967) was a who’s-who gathering of international terrorist players. Additionally, notorious fugitives from the United States include some who are wanted for murder and whose crimes go as far back as the 1970s. They include Joanne Chesimard, Ishmael LaBeet and Charles Lee Hill, who found and continue to receive a protective haven in Cuba. The point of establishing Castrocommunism’s long-standing involvement in, both, terrorist activities and the protection of those involved in terrorism, cannot be understated.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo specifically attributed the recent reclassification to the SST status, in addition to the continual harboring of American fugitives, Cuba’s refusal to extradite 10 Marxist Colombian guerrilla terrorists of the National Liberation Army (“ELN”), who are responsible for a January 2019 bombing of a Bogota police academy, killing 22 people and injuring over 87 others.
The tutelage role that the Castro regime holds over the socialist Venezuelan dictatorship, both before and since Hugo Chávez, is imperialistic in nature and is another important factor prompting the decision. Communist Cuba’s close ties with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (“FARC”), another historically terrorist laden enterprise, provided for additional rationale for the need to correctly align the Castro regime on the SST list.
In addition to the moral upheaval of correctly classifying a regime as criminally notorious as the Cuban Communist dictatorship in the terrorist slot, there is an awesome practical impact of this redesignation. Consistent with the Trump Administration’s commitment to negating funds to the Castro regime, the SST list reconfiguration will further restrict avenues which serve to provide hard U. S. dollar currency transfers.
The deprivation of financial resources to the Island’s Communist government has been a cornerstone of Trump’s approach to Cuba. While days away from leaving the White House, the 45th president may leave, among his deep-rooted legacy, a foreign policy scheme which is in countenance with justice and the requirements of the existence of basic freedoms before any “normalcy” can be considered.
Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.