By JAVIER MANJARRES
The U.S. State Department reassured the world that Cuba’s repressive Castro government, is still considered to be a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST). The State Department updated its SST list this week, prompting Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is considered by many to be the harshest critic of the Castro regime, to release statement tying the Castro’s to other terrorist groups like Colombia’s FARC, and Spain’s ETA.
“The State Department’s announcement yesterday that it intends to keep Cuba on the State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) list reaffirms that the Castro regime is, and has always been, a supporter and facilitator of terrorism. The unlawful actions against our nation include the Castro regime’s order of the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down in 1996 which caused the deaths of U.S. citizens over international waters.
“The Cuban tyranny continues to undermine our interests at every turn and provides a safe haven for members of terrorist organizations like the FARC and ETA. The Castro brothers have long been collaborators with fellow SST members Iran and Syria, and Cuba acts as a sanctuary for fugitives from our country, including Joanne Chesimard wanted for the murder of a New Jersey State Trooper. Cuba also continues to operate its vast spy network within the United States, posing a direct threat to our national security.
“While I’m pleased that the State Department isn’t taking Cuba off the SST list, I am disappointed it has not indicated a willingness to re-designate North Korea as an SST country. Removing North Korea form the SST list was a poor decision and it has not stopped the Pyongyang regime from undermining U.S. interests and from continuing its support to other SST members such as Iran and Syria. The illicit actions by the regimes in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Sudan all warrant their inclusions on the SST list.”-Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
The longstanding U.S. policy of not negotiating with terrorists has been tested under President Obama’s leadership. Obama, who has moved to negotiate with the Hamas-led Palestinian government and the radically Islamic Taliban in Afghanistan, has eased travel restrictions to the island, infuriating the Cuban exile community in the United States. Cuban exiles, as well as their sympathizers, have stated that U.S. dollars sent, or spent on the island, will go directly to fund Cuba’s repressive and human rights violations. They are right.