Guillermo “William” Morales, a U.S. fugitive, in Havana, where he has been living. Morales escaped from police custody in the 1970’s, after being sentenced to 89 years. He was the architect of bombings in New York City that claimed lives, including that of Frank Conner, showed in the inset photo with his son Joseph.
Cuba was originally placed on the terrorism list in 1982, as punishment for its support of communist insurgencies in places ranging from Nicaragua to Angola. In recent years, it shared a place on that list with just Iran, Sudan, and Syria. (The Bush administration controversially removed North Korea in 2008.) There are some 70 American fugitives from justice living in Cuba today, though not all are terrorists. And while Cuban soldiers may no longer be fighting American-backed proxies in Southern Africa, Cuba remains something of a Star Wars cantina of violent Cold War-era radicals.
It is not only American terrorists who find safe haven in Cuba. Over a dozen members of the State Department-listed Basque terrorist group ETA reside on the island, though the Cuban government has repatriated several members back to Spain. Last month, however, the Spanish government requested that the United States try to persuade Cuba to extradite two ETA leaders; it’s difficult to see how that will ever happen now that Washington has surrendered even more leverage to Havana by removing it from the State Department list. Cuba also shelters a number of insurgents associated with the FARC, a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization long at war with the Colombian government.
A 2014 report by the Washington-based Center for a Secure Free Society alleges that Cuban state security had assisted Venezuelan officials with passport technology information to help provide new identities to nearly 200 individuals from the Middle East.
The State Department says it has determined that Cuba has not engaged in terrorist activity in the past six months — a criterion for designating a country as a state sponsor of terrorism — and therefore no longer belongs on the list.
How was this determined?
But never mind my pesky question. What this means, in immediate practical terms, is that Cuba’s Communist regime will be issued credit to purchase U.S. goods.
Cuba’s credit rating is Caa2, firmly in junk bond status.
When Americans are told that Cuba is hosting Russian ships in its harbors, opposition to normalization jumps to 58 percent while support sinks to 30 percent. When Americans are told of Cuba’s attempts to smuggle 240 tons of weaponry to North Korea, opposition jumps to 63 percent and support drops to 26 percent. When Americans are told that Cuba is harboring a cop-killer and terrorists, opposition jumps to 63 percent, and support plummets to 23 percent. When asked whether sanctions should be maintained pending Cuba’s progress on human rights and free elections, Americans agree by a margin of 64-16. And when asked whether Cuba’s designation as a supporter of terrorism should be maintained because it harbors terrorists, respondents agreed 68 percent to 16 percent.
From the VII Summit of the Americas circus, 2 items:
Rafael Correa managed to tear himself away from Twitter to give a speech condemning the U.S., and portraying Latin America (and especially Ecuador) as a paragon of freedom and human rights. Mercifully, he did not try to inflict it on his audience in English.
Barack Obama was next, and, as you can see, he agreed with Correa (emphasis added),
I wanna make one last comment, er, addressing er, some of the points that er, president Correa raised that I’m sure will be raised by a few others during this discussion. Er, I always enjoy the history lessons that I receive, er, when I’m here.
I am a student of history so I tend to actually be familiar with many of these episodes that have been mentioned. I am the first one to acknowledge that America’s application to concern around human rights has not always been consistent. And, I’m certainly mindful that there are dark chapters in our own history in which we have not always observed the principles and ideals upon which the country was founded. Just a few weeks ago I was in Selma, Alabama celebrating the 50th anniversary of a march across a bridge that resulted in horrific violence and the reason I was there and the reason it was a celebration is because it was a triumph of human spirit in which ordinary people without resort to violence were able to overcome systematic segregation. There voices were heard and our country changed. America never makes a claim about being perfect, we do make a claim about being open to change.
“Is more than 40 years I have been selling right here so. Is through this selling I was able to send all of my children to school. Imagine, the Queen come here and them never remove wi, the Prince also come and we were allowed to stay, so why now?” said the distraught woman.
The clean-up operation was questioned in light of the fact that US and Jamaican Government officials have said that Obama would be airlifted by helicopter from the Norman Manley International Airport to Up Park Camp from where he would travel by road to his hotel in New Kingston.
It sounds to me like urban planners were using this visit as a pretext.