Friday, May 31, 2013

Cuba still on U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism

Cuba still on U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism
Cuba's inclusion was political, critics say, noting Havana's efforts to
distance itself from terrorism activities. Also on the list are Syria,
Iran and Sudan.
By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
May 30, 2013, 5:52 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Cuba further distanced itself from terrorist activities
last year but the U.S. government still considers it a state sponsor of
terrorism along with Syria, Iran and Sudan, according to the State
Department's annual report.

The report for 2012, released Thursday, says the government in Cuba last
year reduced support for Basque separatists in Southern Europe, joined a
regional group that seeks to block terrorism financing, and sponsored
peace talks between Colombia and an armed rebel group.

The report finds "no indication that the Cuban government provided
weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups."

Countries listed by the State Department as state sponsors of terrorism
face economic and political sanctions, including U.S. opposition to any
aid from the International Monetary Fund and other major financial

The report says there was a sharp uptick in Iran's sponsorship of
terrorism around the world, including attacks or attempted attacks in
India, Thailand, Georgia and Kenya.

Critics contend that Cuba's inclusion on the list is not justified and
reflects the views of members of Congress who are fiercely opposed to
the communist leaders in Havana. State Department officials are not
considering delisting Cuba, which has been under a U.S. economic embargo
since 1962.

"The report makes it clear that the State Department doesn't really
believe that Cuba is a state sponsor of terrorism," said Geoff Thale,
program director at the Washington Office on Latin America, a liberal
advocacy group. "Cuba is clearly on the terrorist list for political

Cuba still shelters about two dozen members of the separatist group
Basque Homeland and Freedom, or ETA, one of the groups on the terrorist
list, according to the report. But Havana has been reducing its support
for the group and no longer provides it with travel documents, the
report says.

Cuba also has provided haven for members of the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia, or FARC, another organization on the terrorist list.
But in November, Cuba began hosting peace talks between the Colombian
government and the rebels.

Washington had faulted Cuba for doing too little to prevent money
laundering and international terrorist financing. But last year Cuba
joined the Financial Action Task Force of South America, an
intergovernmental group that seeks to enforce U.S.-supported standards
on such illicit activities.

Cuba's shift reflects changes in the country's leadership and a
preoccupation with domestic economic problems, analysts say.

The State Department added three groups to the list: Jemmah Anshorut
Tauhid of Indonesia, the Abdallah Azzam Brigades of Lebanon and the
Arabian peninsula and the Haqqani network of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It removed one group from the list, the Mujahedin Khalq, or MEK, an
Iranian opposition group based primarily in Iraq.,0,1419974.story?track=rss

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