This legislation has nothing to do with terrorism, but is simply a fascistic political maneuver to avoid its removal, which is inevitable and might happen sooner or later. It is a consequence of the intense struggle against Cuba´s permanence on that list and the victory of progressive presidential candidates in Mexico, Chile, Honduras, Colombia and Brazil, with a very, very, different international climate from the era of Bolsonaro, Uribe and Piñera.
What is the list of “Countries that sponsor terrorism”?
“Countries sponsoring international terrorism” is a designation unilaterally applied by the US State Department to states that Washington considers to be collaborators of “terrorist organizations”, which are likewise unilaterally identified. Inclusion on the list means facing strict sanctions of all kinds.
The “terrorist organizations” challenged by the US government are:
• Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
• National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia
• Shining Path (PCP-SL), Peru
• FARC dissidents-EP, Colombia
• Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), Spain, France
• Revolutionary Struggle, Greece
• People´s Revolutionary Liberation Party, Turkey
• Irish Republican Army of Continuity (CIRA), Ireland
• Authentic Irish Republican Army (RIRA), Ireland • Ansar al-Shari´a in Derna, Libya
• Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia, Egypt
• Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, Egypt
• Ansaru, Nigeria
• Boko Haram, Nigeria
• Al-Mulathamun Brigade, Algeria
• Shura Council around Jerusalem, Egypt
• Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Libya
As can be seen, they are all organizations that oppose the United States, especially its foreign policy. No pro-US organization, no matter how violent, is considered as terrorist anywhere in the world. We can mention atrocities of groups such as:
German Alternative, Black Centuries, Proudhon Circle, Combat 18, Action Front of National-Socialists/National Activists, South African National Front, Nationalist Front, Gesinnungsgemeinschaft der Neuen Front, Revolutionary Nationalist Groups, Jeune Europe, Jewish Defense League, World League for Freedom and Democracy, Lincoln-88, Grey Wolves, Civic Action Movement, Pro Chemnitz Movement, Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists, Terrorist Combat Organization, Ryno-Skachevsky Band, Pegida UK, Posse Comitatus, Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh, White Society-88, Russian People´s Union, Volkssozialistiche Bewegung Deutschlands/Partei der Arbeit, and others, which are never mentioned by the imperialist-controlled media, let alone “excommunicated” by the US for being terrorist organizations.
Meanwhile, only Cuba, PDRK (North Korea), Iran and Syria appear on the list of “Countries Promoting Terrorism”.
What specifically is Cuba accused of in order to have it on that wretched list?
Cuba was included in 1982 (during the Ronald Reagen administration), withdrawn in 2015 (Barak Obama) and added back on the list in 2021 (Donald Trump). It had been included for providing medical care and political assistance to members of the FARC and ETA, although Cuba did not provide weapons or paramilitary training to these organizations. Cuba was put back on the list on January 12th 2021: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that “Cuba repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism” by harboring US fugitives and Colombian rebel leaders. Cuba´s support for Nicolas Maduro in the presidential crisis in Venezuela was another reason to add it back to the list, since the Maduro administration created a “permissive environment for international terrorists to live and prosper inside Venezuela”. The redesignation came just eight days before Trump´s presidency ended on January 20th. There had been talk on a large scale of the alleged and never proven “sonic attacks” of Havana, something that has already been forgotten without acknowledging it as a lie.
Who supports this proposed legislation aimed ad hoc to prevent Cuba from being removed from the list? The “Freedom Caucus”, an expression of fascism in the US Congress.
The Freedom Caucus (Caucus refers to a grouping within a party, e.g. the Latin Caucus) is made up of conservative Republican members of the US House of Representatives. It is generally considered to be the most conservative and far right bloc within the House Republican Conference. The caucus was formed in January 2015 by a group of conservatives and members of the Tea Party movement, to move the Republican leadership even further to the right. Its first president, Jim Jordan, described it as a “smaller, more cohesive, more agile and more active” group of conservative representatives.
It is positioned on the far right of the political spectrum, with certain members having right-wing populist beliefs, such as opposing immigration reform, and others are openly fascists. The group takes hard-line conservative positions and favors social conservatism and small government.
Later, the Freedom Caucus shifted its emphasis and priorities to loyalty to Donald Trump and became even more right-wing and ultra-nationalist, but less subject to political principles, if it ever had any. This group supports House candidates through its political action committee House Freedom Fund (lots of money, baby).
It is not necessary to explain that this group is a sworn enemy of Cuba and its people and is closely linked to the Cuban-American ultra-right in Miami and other parts of the United States.
More than 15 members of the Freedom Caucus will support and seek support for this “legislation” introduced by ultra-rightist representative Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27).
H.R. 314, “Fighting Oppression until the Reign of Castro Ends”, also known as the FORCE Act. This proposed bill would prevent President Jose Biden from normalizing relations with Cuba unless “freedom and democracy are restored on the island”. In other words, that Cuba could not be removed from this list not only until the Revolutionary Government “falls”. No, not enough, plus, there has to be a government that the ultra-right in Miami likes.
The latest version of the law was introduced in the last legislative session of the Senate by senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl), along with senators Rick Scott (R-Fl) and Ted Cruz (R-Tx).
H.R. 314 would prevent Cuba from being removed from the list of sponsors of terrorism until it meets the requirements of Section 205 of the LIBERTAD Act (criminal Helms-Burton Act). P.L. 104. Section 205 of the LIBERTAD Act requires Cuba to meet the following conditions:
1. Release all “political prisoners” and allow international human rights organizations to investigate Cuban prisons.
2. Transition from the “Castro regime” to a system that guarantees the rights of the Cuban people to express themselves freely.
3.Commit to holding “free and fair elections”.
It is very interesting to note that none, absolutely none of these three points has to do with terrorism, not even indirectly.
These are the same requirements that must be met to lift the embargo and sanctions on the Cuban regime. In other words, this bill obliges the “Castro/Diaz-Canel dictatorship” to comply with current US law, not Cuba´s, trying to return Cuba to what it was before 1959, a US protectorate, something which, obviously, will never happen.
Representative Salazar is joined on this bill by Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (Fl-25), Carlos Gimenez (Fl-26), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Alex Mooney (WV-02), Stephanie Bice (Ok-05), Neal Dunn (Fl-02), Kat Cammack (Fl-03), Michael Waltz (Fl-06), Michael McCaul (Tx-10), Ken Buck (Co-04), Burgess Owens (Ut-04), Darrell Issa (Ca-48), Mark Rutherford (Fl-05), Steve Womack (Ar-03) and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon.
“Cuba´s totalitarian communist regime is an ever present threat to US national security”, said Representative Salazar, adding that “the Castro regime continues to subsidize and provide financial and military support to bad actors throughout Ibero-America”.
“The FORCE Act ensures that no Secretary of State or President can remove Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism until it meets the minimum requirements of a functional and free society”, and that “this legislation is not only important to the Cuban exile community in District 27, but also to thousands of my constituents, who also come from countries directly subsidized by Havana, Salazar added.
“Cuba has played a major role in threatening the US by stoking instability throughout Latin America, supporting ruthless dictators like Nicolas Maduro and Daniel Ortega, and fueling mass emigration that benefits the illegitimate regime and its evil allies in communist China, Russia and Iran for decades”, said Senator Rick Scott, former governor of Florida. “Sadly, Obama and Biden´s appeasement policies have only made things worse, empowering the evil communist regime and funding the continued oppression, imprisonment and torture of hundreds of peaceful Cubans, including adolescent children”, he added.
Representatives Gimenez, Diaz-Balart, Malliotakis and other politicians from Florida´s ultra-right spoke in similar terms.
“The Biden Administration must keep the “Castro regime” on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism for … illegally condemning “thousands of political prisoners in summary trials” following the protests of July 11th, 2021”, said Gimenez. “If it were not so serious, it would make you want to laugh”.
Maria Elvira Salazar represents Florida´s 27th District in the US Congress, which includes several cities and towns in the Miami metropolitan area. She serves on the House Foreign Affairs and Small Business Committees. Organizations in solidarity with Cuba and a significant number of US politicians who enjoy a reasonable level of mental health and common sense are going to oppose this ani-Cuban monstrosity from being approved and put into effect.
Moreover, we consider it likely that Cuba will be removed from such a fateful list during the next 12 months; so strong is the rejection it provokes, not only within the US, but also throughout Latin America and the world.
*Cuban engineer residing in the US.