14ymedio, Madrid, 1 May 2023 — Nothing new happened in the meeting held by Cuba and the United States in Havana on April 27 and 28 to evaluate the cooperation of both countries in the fight against terrorism. The official media Cubadebate published on Monday a brief “exclusive” interview with Inés Fors Fernández, Foreign Ministry Director of Bilateral Issues with the United States.
In the conversation, the official insists that the Island must be removed from the US list of sponsors of terrorism while accusing Washington of having committed most of the “more than 700 acts of international terrorism” perpetrated against Cuba.
Fors Fernández, who begins the interview by normalizing the meeting with Washington — the fourth since the agreements were signed in 2015 — claims Cuba’s “unquestionable” commitment to the fight against terrorism, which she attributes, precisely, to being a victim of attacks “organized, financed and executed by the US Government or by individuals and organizations that receive refuge or act with impunity on its territory.”
The official gives the figure of 3,478 fatalities and 2,099 wounded, although she does not explain the origin of the data and mentions “some examples,” including alleged projects “to shoot down Cuban civilian planes between 1974 and 1979,” “more than 600 plans for an attack against Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro, bomb attacks on hotels, shopping and recreational centers in Havana between 1997 and 1998” and “the hijackings of boats and aircraft that occurred between 1959 and 2001”.
She also includes the attack suffered by the Cuban Embassy in Washington in 2020, for which a man with mental health problems was arrested in the US, and another attack in Paris, in July 2021.
She does not stop there and, as usual, adds to those facts the economic impact generated by the embargo. “The figures of economic damage derived from the acts of sabotage to our sugar mills, pig production, tobacco and various facilities are in the millions,” adds Fors Fernández, and these facts are enough for Cuba to be, as a victim, a country committed to the fight against terrorism.
Despite the abundance of contrasting data on the role of Havana in the reception and military preparation of thousands of guerrillas and terrorists from dozens of countries, the official assures that “the territory of Cuba has never been used, nor will it ever be used, to organize, finance or execute terrorist acts against any country.”
In 2021, just before leaving the White House, Donald Trump’s government included the Island on the list of sponsors of terrorism and highlighted Cuba’s refusal to hand over to Colombia the representatives of the National Liberation Army (ELN) who were in Havana for the peace negotiations. Bogotá demanded they be returned because of an attack, claimed by the ELN, against a military school in 2019 in the capital, which cost the lives of 23 cadets. The regime rejected the extradition claiming that the immunity of the negotiators was part of the agreement for the talks.
To this are added the refuge given to several criminals claimed by the United States, from Joanne Chesimard, known as Assata Shakur, who murdered a state police officer, to two plane hijackers, who stole more than 7 million dollars from a US bank.
However, for Fors Fernández, “Cuba’s presence on that list is an action of political and economic coercion, which does not acknowledge the genuine and honest willingness to face the danger posed by terrorism. American experts on national security have confirmed that there is no evidence that Cuba supports terrorism, and that it can be an important partner in the region in confronting this phenomenon.”
The Cuban government tries to show itself as a reliable partner of the United States — which, for the moment, does not consider taking the Island off the blacklist — but did not stop reproaching, as it had already announced, “the hijacking of aircraft and boats,” in reference to the recent cases of people who fled Cuba using state means of transport and have received immigration protection in the US.
The interview is one more example of the Island’s shifts with the United States, which it tries to approach on the one hand, specifically because of the economic consequences of being included on the aforementioned list of sponsors of terrorism, but without ceasing to make all kinds of accusations on the other. The most recent accusation this Saturday — although for the umpteenth time — is being guilty of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Meeting with the president of the Duma, Viacheslav Volodin, who visited the Island to participate in the cooperation commission between the parliaments of both countries, Miguel Díaz-Canel referred to Russia’s “unconditional support” and “firm and systematic denunciation, in every international event, in relation to the conflict orchestrated by the Government of the United States, with the aim of moving closer to unacceptable lines of NATO’s borders with Russia.”
The Russian politician joins the list of compatriots who have traveled to Cuba in recent months, from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, to the spy Nikolai Patrushev and, with greater intensity, the economic adviser Boris Titov, who already acts as a de facto consultant to the regime. “This visit is an expression of the excellent state of relations between the Russian Federation and Cuba,” said the president of Cuba, confirming the fears of civil society, which already speaks of “loss of sovereignty in favor of Moscow.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
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