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Cuba condemns terrorism and political manipulation

Cuba reunion declaracionThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs states its strong rejection of the slanderous inclusion of Cuba in the U.S. State Department list of countries which are allegedly not cooperating fully with U.S. efforts against terrorism that was made public on May 13, 2020 and strongly rejected by President Miguel Díaz-Canel. Bermúdez.

This is a unilateral and arbitrary listing with no basis, authority or international support whatsoever which, as is known, only aids attempts to defame and pressure countries refusing to concede to the will of the U.S. government in making their sovereign decisions.

The main argument presented by the U.S. government is the presence in Cuban territory of members of the delegation to peace talks of the National Liberation Army (ELN) of Colombia.

As is well known, the delegation to peace talks between the National Liberation Army (ELN) of Colombia are in Cuba after Ecuador suddenly renounced its commitment to continue as the venue of these talks and, at the request of the Colombian government and the ELN, the venue for the peace process was moved to Havana in May of 2018.

These peace talks began on February 7, 2017 in Quito, Ecuador. Cuba, along with Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela and Norway, has served as a guarantor of the peace process as requested by the parties.

After Mr. Iván Duque Márquez was inaugurated as President of Colombia on August 7, 2018, representatives of his government, beginning on August 8 that year and until January 2019, had several exchanges with Cuba and the ELN delegation to the peace talks, with respect to continuing the dialogue that had initiated during the Santos Presidency – a process during which our country showed appropriate discretion and acted strictly in its capacity as a guarantor.

Immediately after the bombing of the Police Cadet Academy in Bogota on Jaunary 17, 2019, the president of the Republic of Cuba and our Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed our condolences to the Colombian government and people and particularly to relatives of the victims of the bombing, and reaffirmed Cuba’s strong position rejecting and condemning all terrorist acts, methods and practices in all forms and manifestations.

The Colombian government subsequently took political and legal action against the ELN delegation to the peace talks in Cuba and halted the peace dialogue. Additionally, a decision was made to ignore the Protocol in Case of Rupture, thus openly abandoning and violating commitments made by that state with the other six nations that had signed the accords.

The Protocol in Case of Rupture was signed within the framework of the peace talks held by the government of Colombia, the ELN and guarantor countries on April 5, 2016. It guarantees the safe return of the guerrilla delegation to Colombia if the talks should come to an end.

The Cuban government has stated and continues to state today that, based on the agreed upon documents, the Protocol should be implemented. This stance, which is widely supported by the international community and by circles committed to reaching a negotiated settlement in the Colombian armed conflict, is an accepted universal practice which has been repeatedly ratified as it abides by international law and commitments by the country that serves as a guarantor and the site of the talks. It is the non-implementation of this Protocol that has obliged ELN delegation members to the peace talks to remain in Cuba.

The Colombian government has embarked on a series of hostile actions against Cuba, including public statements, threats and summons, through ungrateful, politically-motivated manipulation of the unquestionable contribution of Cuba to peace in Colombia. Among other actions, was a significant change in the historical position of Colombia in support of the Resolution that has been passed every year in the United Nations General Assembly demanding an end to the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba which imposes damages and suffering on our people. This action reversed the previously invariable position all Colombian governments had assumed since 1992.

The same day the U.S. announced Cuba had been included on the list of countries allegedly not cooperating fully with U.S. efforts against terrorism, the Colombian government’s High Commissioner for Peace, Mr. Miguel Ceballos Arévalo, publicly stated that the State Department decision to include Cuba was a “recognition” of the government of Colombia and its “repeated request” that Cuba hand over members of the ELN delegation to the peace talks.

These statements by Mr. Ceballos have been criticized in Colombia by many circles committed to peace and several Colombian politicians have demanded that the government provide an explanation of these comments and the way the Protocol in Case of Rupture is being ignored.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly rejects the statements of the Colombian high-ranking official.

What the comments by the High Commissioner for Peace show is that the Colombian government serves and facilitates U.S. arguments justifying aggressive against our country and affords “recognition” to infamous U.S. actions against a Latin American and Caribbean nation.

Citing the presence of ELN representatives in Cuba, on which the U.S. accusation is based, is nothing but a senseless, feeble and dishonest pretext facilitated by the ungrateful attitude of the Colombian government – if Mr. Ceballos’ statements are to be given any credit.

In any case, despite assistance from the government of Colombia, the U.S. accusation is totally and deliberately unfounded. There is concrete and, in some cases, very recent evidence of our bilateral collaboration with the United States in fighting terrorism and in joint law enforcement efforts and in actions of specific interest to the U.S., thus the inclusion of Cuba on the list as announced by the State Department is a deliberate distortion of the truth.

It must be remembered that Cuba as a country has been the target of many terrorist actions financed and carried out from U.S. territory by groups and individuals who have enjoyed leniency there and protection from the U.S. government, a fact that is public knowledge. In the past, Cuba was also the victim of state terrorism perpetrated directly by the government of the United States, which has acted in conjunction with organized crime in that country. Due to such actions, 3,478 Cubans have died and 2,099 have been disabled in one way or another.

On April 30 last, the Cuban embassy in the United States was the target of a terrorist act. Since then, the U.S. government has maintained complicit silence, without condemning or rejecting the act, and has refrained from taking action against terrorist individuals and groups based in U.S. territory who are fueling violence against Cuba and our institutions.

As a result, after the terrorist attack against our diplomatic mission in Washington, the safety of Cuban diplomats and embassies has been threatened in the U.S. itself and in Mexico, Costa Rica, Antigua & Barbuda, Canada, Cyprus, Austria and Angola, all of which has been reported to the respective government authorities.

The attitude of manifest complicity shown by the U.S. government carries the risk of being taken as an approval of terrorism. It is consistent with the policy of increasing aggression and incitement to violence against Cuba, which has been extended even to countries where Cuban health personnel are working under bilateral cooperation agreements.

Cuba’s commitment to decisive action against and condemnation of terrorism are enshrined in our Constitution. Our opposition to any form or manifestation of terrorism, particularly state terrorism, is absolute and categorical, and reflected in relevant laws. There is no reason to believe that the U.S. government could make such a categorical statement about its position on terrorism.

Cuba has invariably supported peace in Colombia and worked as a guarantor for the implementation of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces-People’s Army (FARC-EP), despite the Colombian government’s failure to guarantee protection for or ensure strict implementation of the agreement.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested through diplomatic channels that the Colombian government explain its position as to the role of guarantors of the peace process, particularly that of Cuba.

Likewise, Cuba requests to be informed regarding the position of the government on enforcement and implementation of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges the government of Colombia to state its official position as to its reasons concerning the inclusion of Cuba on the U.S. State Department list and explain the role and posture of its officials during prior exchanges that took place with the U.S. concerning the matter.

As a country which has been a victim of terrorism, Cuba deplores any form of manipulation and political opportunism when addressing such a sensitive issue.

Havana, June 1, 2020.

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