EFE (via 14ymedio), Washington, 3 May 2023 — On Tuesday, the United States said it would not remove Cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, despite having held a meeting with the Government of Havana on cooperation to confront terrorist activities.
“These conversations take place on a regular basis. We still are not changing our policy regarding the presence of Cuba on the list,” said the deputy spokesman of the State Department, Vedant Patel, at a press conference.
Patel said that Washington and Havana have to carry out “important cooperation tasks” because they share maritime borders, and he said that security dialogues with the Island take place from time to time.
However, he insisted that “the regime has a long history of repression against civil society and other factors that keep Cuba on the list” of state sponsors of terrorism.
The talks in question took place last Thursday and Friday in Havana, where representatives of both governments had a technical exchange on cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
They spoke about the hijacking of aircraft and maritime vessels, as well as the use of digital networks for violent purposes, according to the Cuban Ministry of the Interior.
The inclusion of Cuba on the list of sponsors of terrorism in January 2021 was one of the last decisions made by the Government of Donald Trump (2017-2021) before leaving power.
The United States then justified the measure, which entails several sanctions, alluding to the presence on the Island of members of the Colombian guerrillas of the ELN, who traveled to Havana to start peace negotiations with the Colombian president.
The Island was taken off the list in 2015, during the rapprochement promoted by then-President Barack Obama (2009-2017). Cuba was put back on the list by Trump, who during his term redoubled the sanctions on Havana and put the brakes on the “thaw.”
The current Biden Administration has made some gestures towards the Island, such as the elimination of the remittance limit for Cuba, but is still far from Obama’s approach.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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