The Cuba Solidarity Campaign adds its voice to the worldwide condemnation of the outgoing Trump administration’s listing of Cuba as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’.
Trump’s move is designed to hinder the incoming Biden administration from reprising the Obama era’s rapprochement with Havana. Obama’s decision to formally remove Cuba from the terrorism list in 2015 was an important step that led to the restoration of diplomatic relations later that year.
Returning Cuba to the list is a unilateral measure that has been widely condemned and ridiculed. It is further evidence, if any is needed, of how sections of the right-wing in the US bully those who oppose its neo-liberal policies.
The move panders to the powerful, far-right anti-Cuba groups in Florida, who wield significant power within the Republican Party and form part of Trump’s core support.
Richard Burgon MP said it was “a disgraceful decision made for cynical political objectives and based upon lies. Obama rightly removed Cuba from this classification and I hope that Joe Biden does so too, and swiftly.”
There are already so many sanctions in place, tightened further by Trump, that the terrorism listing is unlikely to have significant or immediate effects. However it will entrench the sanctions policy, adding weight to the threats against international companies wishing to trade with Cuba, and it will make it more difficult for the incoming US administration to move towards an alternative policy of rapprochement and engagement with the island.
The US announcement is discredited, dishonest and comes from a morally bankrupt administration. Cuba is not in any way ‘a state sponsor of terrorism’. The opposite is true: Cuba is a state victim of terrorism. Since 1959, over 3,000 Cubans have lost their lives to terrorist acts, most of which have emanated from the US. These include numerous early acts of aggression and sabotage following the 1959 Revolution, peaking in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 killing 73 people, and the hotel bombings in Havana in the 1990s designed to destroy the growing Cuban tourist industry.
The only terrorist aggression involving Cuba is coordinated, sponsored and perpetrated from the territory of the US, whose government is complicit and responsible for these atrocities.
We call on the incoming Biden administration to reverse this outrageous decision, and for good people across the world to join the campaign for an end to the US’s illegal blockade. Countries need to be able to engage and cooperate with each other in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding. At this time of worldwide pandemic, friendship across frontiers is surely the only way forward.
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