US bishops disagree with designation of Cuba as terrorism sponsor

The flag of Cuba. Credit: Steward Cutler via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

CNA Staff, Jan 14, 2021 / 06:29 pm (CNA).- The US bishops’ chair for international justice and peace has expressed his disagreement with the State Department’s return of Cuba to a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The decision was based in part on Cuba’s provision of haven to Colombian rebel leaders and fugitives from US justice, as well as Cuba’s support of Nicolas Maduro, the disputed president of Venezuela, who is not recognized by the US.

“As Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, I would like to express my profound disagreement with Secretary Pompeo’s decision to add Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism,” Bishop David Malloy of Rockford said Jan. 12.

“As our committee has said many times, we need more relations between the United States and Cuba, not less, in order to construct mutually beneficial trade, cultural, and scientific ties that will yield a lasting prosperity for both our nations. I pray that we never tire of working towards these goals and that both sides recognize the need for friendship and collaboration,” he stated.

“For decades, in conjunction with the Holy See and the majority of the international community, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged collaboration and mutually beneficial relations between the United States and Cuba, as well as the full lifting of the economic embargo against the island nation.”

In announcing the designation of Cuba Jan. 11, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it has provided “support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbor to terrorists.”

He cited Cuba’s refusal to extradite 10 leaders of a Colombian rebel group that bombed a police academy in January 2019, and its harboring of at least three US fugitives.

The Secretary of State noted that by May 2020 the State Department had certified Cuba as not cooperating fully with US counterterrorism efforts.

Pompeo added that “the Cuban intelligence and security apparatus has infiltrated Venezuela’s security and military forces, assisting Nicholas [sic] Maduro to maintain his stranglehold over his people while allowing terrorist organizations to operate. The Cuban government’s support for FARC dissidents and the ELN continues beyond Cuba’s borders as well, and the regime’s support of Maduro has created a permissive environment for international terrorists to live and thrive within Venezuela.”

Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terror “subjects Cuba to sanctions that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with Cuba, restricts U.S. foreign assistance, bans defense exports and sales, and imposes certain controls on exports of dual use items,” Pompeo said.

Cuba had been removed from the list in 2015 by the Obama administration; it had first been placed there in 1982 under Ronald Reagan.

After Sudan was recently removed, only three other countries are included on the list of a state sponsor of terrorism: North Korea, Syria, and Iran.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla condemned the U.S. action in a tweet on Monday, calling it “hypocritical and cynical” and characterizing it as “political opportunism”.

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  1. Pray tell, how is it this bishop thinks he knows more about whether Cuba is involved in terrorism or not than does the US State Department? Or is it just that he doesn’t much care?

  2. The statement is the same PR spin that was used during the Nixon China initiative. The Chinese people are still waiting for their political liberalization. The evidence is that increasingly both the Catholic Church and the USA have a leadership that is becoming Sinicized. In the USA Catholic Social Teaching appears, in practice, to give primacy to governmental solutions, with all power being given to the administrative state, just like China. It is getting to be to the point of giving this administrative state the limitless powers of godhood, the idolatry of government. The preferential option of the administrative state being the destination for all power, a new Tower of Babel.
    The failure of the Pope to meet with the Cuban dissidents and the secretive nature of the Vatican’s China agreement make it clear that the state is the boss.

  3. Note that he doesn’t really contest the facts that Cuba is abetting terrorism– we just “need more relations” so we should turn a blind eye so as not to offend them.

  4. Considering the state department funded and aided (with tax dollars!) a 2019 coup to remove the democratically-elected president in Bolivia (a coup which failed after one year before killing hundreds of people), it’s hard to take seriously their accusations of a Latin American country “aiding” and “harboring” terrorists. Best part of the coup? The rebels who overthrew the government claimed election fraud because, get this, they were leading in the early vote count, but as more votes were counted, their lead reversed! What?! How could this happen! STOP THE STEAL!

    Bishops are probably right to call for dialog, whatever their motives. The stupid blanket association of nations as evil by the State Department and various agencies has caused innumerably more bloodshed and damage than not. That people here knee-jerk oppose these calls just because they perceive the bishops as ‘liberal’ is a pretty poor sign of their myopia.

  5. Cuba is an open air concentration camp literally on America’s doorstep. It has no free elections, no freedom of speech, press, and belief, and no right to private property and personal freedom. Everything is censored. Dissidents are imprisoned without trial. It is one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere due to decades of following failed socialist policies. Raul Castro is one of the richest men in the world due to robbing his own countrymen blind via Marxism.

    Pope St John Paul II set the example of how to deal with Communist regimes, i.e resist them, undermine them and be witnesses to truth.

  6. The notion that being nice-nice to Cuba will change their dire situation sounds like the naive rhetoric of the Cold War vis-a-vis the Soviets. Useless at best.

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